It was the air-conditioning! That was the foundation for the big boom growth of Houston in 1950 when it became the most air-conditioned city in the world. It was the stimulus for many corporations to move their headquarters to Houston. Among those companies were Continental Oil, Prudential Insurance, Mobil Oil, Gulf Oil, Texaco Oil, Tidewater Associated and Sunray MidContinent. Ethyl Corporation opened a new $50 million plant on the ship channel in 1952. And, of course, Humble Oil & Refining Company was already well established in Houston.
The census of 1950 made Houston the 14th biggest city in America with a population of 596,163. Five years later, in 1955, there were 475,000 motor vehicles registered in Harris County, and 8,000 of them were air-conditioned. Naturally, the oil company related people numbered in the thousands. The geologists had already started the Houston Geological Society in 1923 and held monthly luncheons, with membership increasing at a terrific speed.
In 1950, the wives of these men were dreaming of their own organization. Mrs. Ralph Cantrell, or Charlie, tells the story... "Mrs. Jack Colle, or Olga, Mrs. Robert Behrman, or Gen, and I with a few other Houston Geological Society wives gathered around my dining room table and hand wrote the invitations on plain notebook paper. On May 5, 1950 at 10:00 a.m. at the Women's Club on Westmorland Street, there was a discussion meeting about getting an auxiliary organization started. We sent invitations to every member of the Houston Geological Society. A couple of the HGS men came to this meeting and gave us $25.00 to help us get started and we bought a lot of stamps."
"At this meeting, we set up some temporary officers. I was made temporary chairwoman and we appointed a secretary and a nominating committee with another group to work on our By-Laws."
"In September we met at the Ye Olde College Inn and talked about our plans for the Auxiliary. We elected officers and Mrs. John D. Marr, or Kathryn, was our first president, and I don't remember who the other officers were. We decided to charge $5.00 yearly dues and made everyone stand in line to sign the book and pay their money. The line circled the Ye Olde College Inn, with several hundred women signing up."
The HGS Newsletter dated December 10, 1951 states that the group changed its name from "Houston Society of Geologist's Wives" to the the "Houston Geological Auxiliary." The HGS had 812 members at the time, and the HGA had 415.
"By 1958 there were 750 members," Mrs. Cantrell continued. "That year we decided to start the newcomers group to help new people get acquainted in a smaller group before joining the larger meeting. Well, I could go on and on..."
The newcomers group was originally referred to as the "Quaternary" group (in geological terms, "most recent"), and changed its name a year later to "Geo-Wives."
The following women are HGA charter members who are still current members:
- Mrs. Robert Behrman (Genevieve),Florenze Mercedes Benz, Mrs. Wayne Burkllead (Fran),Mrs. Ralph Cantrell (Charlie),Mrs. William F. Cooke (Dorothy),Mrs. Ralph Davis (Mildred),Mrs. Paul Farren (June),Mrs. George Hardin (Virginia),Mrs. Rufus LeBlanc (Bede),Mrs. Ray Lewis (Faye), Mrs. William Milley (Marcy),Mrs. I.K. Nichols (Mildred), Mrs Julian Pawley (Mary Jean),Mrs. Sidney Schafer (Wuanita),Mrs. Benjamin Simmons (Robbie),Mrs. James Sims (Nelda),Mrs. Edward Smith (Edna Pearl), Mrs. Wilbur Synnott (Delores),and Mrs. James Wheeler (Jerry).
Past Presidents of the Houston Geological Auxiliary +Mrs, John D. Marr** 1950-51 Mrs. Ralph Cantrell 1951-52 +Mrs. A. L. Selig** 1952-53 +Mrs.RoyEBennett(MarvolSpeed**) 1953-54 Mrs. A. Knox Tyson** 1954-55 +Mrs. Hillard Hinson** 1955-56 Mrs. Harold Voight (Merle White**) 1956-57 Mrs. R. G. Behrman, Jr. 1957-58 +Mrs. Harold N. Fisk** 1958-59 +Mrs. Lawrence J. Vittrup 1959-60 Mrs. Edward J. Smith, Jr.** 1960-61 +Mrs. Donald I. Gahagan** 1961-62 Mrs. Phillip B. Wogan (Inez Broussard**) 1962-63 +Mrs. Phillip R. Allin 1963-64 Mrs. Ray C. Lewis 1964-65 Mrs. Owen B. Wood 1965-66 Mrs. James A. Wheeler** 1966-67 Mrs. Paul Farren 1967-68 Mrs. Thomas D. Barber 1968-69 Mrs. R. Jack Chambers Colle** 1969-70 Mrs. 0. G. Lundstrom 1970-71 Mrs. Polly Turner** 1971-72 Mrs. J. D. Bartell 1972-73 Mrs. Dee Russek Williams 1973-74 +Mrs. Jack 0. Colle 1974-75 Mrs. Hal H. Bybee** 1975-76 Mrs. George E. Gordon 1976-77 +Mrs. John W. Inkster** 1977-78 Mrs. Robert J. Schrock 1978-79 Mrs. James G. Floyd 1979-80 Mrs. Andrew B. Bacho 1980-81 +Mrs. Nancy S. Rust 1981-82 Mrs. Wiley B. Harle 1982-83 Mrs. William E Howell 1983-84 Mrs. Jeffrey V. Morris 1984-85 Mrs. Louis A. Newitt 1985-86 +Mrs. Clyde Harrison** 1986-87 Mrs. Richard S. Bishop 1987-88 Mrs. John H. Hefner 1988-89 Mrs. C. E. Trowbridge 1989-90 Mrs. Stewart H. Folk 1990-91 Mrs. James B. Bennett 1991-92 Mrs. James 0. Lewis 1992-93 Mrs. Richard Steinmetz 1993-94 Mrs. Glenn Allen 1994-95 Mrs. P. W. f. Wood 1995-96 Mrs. Charles Edwards 1996-97 Mrs. Bill R. Payne 1997-98 (Note: + deceased, ** HGS member husband deceased)
Geo-Wives Past Presidents
- 1958-59 Mrs. Leon Kent1959-60 Mrs. Lynn D. Ervin1960-61 Mrs. R. C. Brenner1961-62 Mrs. Wendell Russell1962-63 Mrs. Ross E. Dawson1962-63 Mrs. Ralph 0. Woodward1963-64 Mrs. Victor B. RLissek Jr.1964-65 Mrs. T. L. Sanders, Jr.1965-66 Mrs. Paul C. Berner1966-67 Mrs. Frank R. Moulton1967-68 Mrs. Jerry McCain1968-69 Mrs. Henry A. Campo1969-70 Mrs. Robert H. Mayse1970-71 Mrs. George Thomas1971-72 Mrs. Ted Hole1972-73 Mrs. Robert J. Schrock1973-74 Mrs. Russell Seward, Jr.1974-75 Mrs. Verne Farmer, Jr.1975-76 Mrs. Cecfl V Hagen1976-77 Mrs. John Pickering1977-78 Mrs. Fred Ealand1978-79 Mrs. Stuart Bick1979-80 Mrs. Marvin Romberg1980-81 Mrs. James Watson1981-82 Mrs. William Roberts, III1982-83 Mrs. Jack Stevenson1983-84 Mrs. Joe E. Siegmund1984-85 Mrs. Ken Gaizutis1985-86 Mrs. Ralph Rice1986-87 Mrs. Ken Pooser1987-88 Mrs. Craig Anderson1988-89 Mrs. Glenn Allen1989-90 Mrs. James Dodge1990-91 Mrs. Jon Champeny1991-92 Mrs. David Matuszak1992-93 Mrs. Susan McKinley1993-94 Mrs. Charles E. Edwards1994-95 Mrs. P.W.J. Wood1995-96 Mrs. John Pezzetta1996-97 Mrs. John Robinson1997-98 Mrs.