Wall of Fame
Bill H. Tidwell
Bill H. Tidwell graduated from Sanger High School in 1968. After graduation, Bill joined the United States Marine Corps and later fought in the Vietnam War. During the war, Tidwell suffered a life-threating injury in combat, and he was later awarded the Purple Heart. In 1974, he earned an Associate of Arts degree from Orange Coast College. As he continued his pursuit of higher education, Tidwell earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine in 1974, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine in 1977, and in 1980, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies from California State University, Fullerton. In 1976, he started his career with the Orange County Environmental Management Agency as a park ranger. Throughout his career, Tidwell advanced from Senior Park Ranger to Supervisor of Park Rangers, to Supervisor of Vegetation, and in 1999 was promoted to Manager of Operations and Maintenance. Tidwell now teaches at Coastline Community College and Orange Coast Community College as an ecological tour leader and has developed tours for each ecological zone in Orange County. He has led extended tours to Hawaii, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, Africa, and Costa Rica; furthermore, he has done extensive environmental research in many areas of California and other parts of the world. He also coordinated an international effort to restore the native habitat of the Galapagos Islands. Tidwell has been honored with numerous awards including Purple Heart awarded by USMC; Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Lifetime Achievement Award, State Weed Conference; National Roadside Vegetation Management Association Award of Excellence; Board of Supervisors Commendation for Emergency Response to Hazardous Materials Spill; Audubon Scholarship to Audubon Camp in the West; Orange County Author of the Year Award; and the Stephen Baker Award. Tidwell has had many accomplishments in the field of education, scientific research, environmental service and studies, and the military service. He is an accomplished environmentalist and is admired by many for his research and expertise. However, according to Tidwell, his greatest accomplishment in life was marrying his wife, Vicki, and rearing their four children: David, Cortney, Tim, and Brenen.
John B. Waide
The son of a pioneer ranching family, John B. Waide graduated from Sanger High School in 1925 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Iowa State University. Later, Waide served in the United States Army from 1942-1945. In the military, he earned the Distinguished Military Service distinction in World War II, and he served as Staff Officer in the Supreme Headquarters American European Forces as an Agriculture Specialist. During the war, he received the La Croix De Chevalier distinction, an order of merit bestowed by the French Republic for outstanding contributions to agriculture. This award is the highest civilian award given by the French government. After World War II, he began his career with Texas A&M University as a county agriculture agent and later formed his own company, Waide and Allen Inc., a partner of Estes Gain Company, where he served as director until 1970.
Dr. Edwin Dale Odom
Dr. Edwin Dale Odom is a graduate of Sanger High School. He earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in History from North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas). In 1961, he earned a Ph.D. in History from Tulane University. Dr. Odom has worked as a professor of history at the University of North Texas for the last 35 years while also serving as Director of Graduate Assistants for the History Department and as a member of the Faculty Senate. Additionally, as the Director of the Oral History Program, Dr. Odom has conducted history interviews for numerous political and business leaders in Texas including Allen Shivers and Ronnie Alread. He published numerous publications, with the latest being published in 1999 entitled, “The First Fifty Years of Grace Temple Baptist Church of Denton.” Other articles appear in publications such as Agriculture History, Encyclopedia USA, and East Texas Historical Journal. Dr. Odom is also a well-known speaker and lecturer in Texas history.
Thomas C. Moore
Thomas C. Moore was a born in 1936 and graduated from Sanger High School as salutatorian of the Class of 1953. Moore was world-renowned for his work in the field of botany research conducted within the Research Fellowship – Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He conducted research in the Department of Agriculture Chemistry for the University of Tokyo, and he also served as editor and conducted workshops for the University of Chile’s Journal of Plant Growth Regulation. Moore wrote 17 books and co-wrote 30 others.
Mary Nell “Nel” Haynie Armstrong
Mary Nell “Nel” Haynie Armstrong attended Sanger schools and Baylor University. She served as Director of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce from 1970-1980. She also served as President of the General Wednesday Study Club 1954-1956 and 1986-1988, as PTA District II Vice President 1968-70, Denton County PTA President 1963, and Sanger PTA President 1958-1962. Armstrong has served the Sanger community and youth through 4H, Little League baseball, President of WMU, and as a church clerk and Sunday school teacher. She became the first elected Mayor of Sanger in 1984, and she held the position until 1996. Armstrong served as the general contractor for the new Sanger Library, and later, she took over management of the Sanger Public Library. Armstrong chaired the Home Rule Charter Commission for which she wrote the new charter. Under her leadership, Sanger built a new sewer plant and improved the Sanger water system by drilling a new well and building a storage tank. Her leadership also garnered a completely updated and improved city electricity system. Armstrong also obtained a Texas Parks Grant to build the city’s first swimming pool, remodeled City Hall, established the Sanger Senior Center, and appointed four new Citizens Boards, including Parks, Beautification, Library, and the Board of Adjustments.
Alma Lain Chambers
Alma Lain Chambers was a teacher, librarian, genealogical researcher, tutor, storyteller, and homemaker. She served for 11 years as the first woman member of Sanger School Board and the Denton County Historical Survey Committee. She received the Denton County Senior Citizen Award 1956. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Daughters America Revolution (DAR), the Parents/Teachers Association 1916, and she served as a charter member of the Wednesday Study Club. Alma Lain Chambers was a civic leader devoted to Sanger’s development.
Lt. General. (Ret.) James Francis Hollingsworth
Lieutenant General (Ret.) James Francis Hollingsworth was born on March 24, 1918, and graduated from Sanger schools in 1935. He attended Texas A&M University and graduated in 1940. He became a commissioned Second Lieutenant in World War II, and he served during several major campaigns in North Africa. Hollingsworth held numerous high command positions throughout the world and was awarded 87 distinctions and decorations, including the Purple Heart with 5 Oakleaf Clusters. He spent 36 years as an officer in the U.S. Army, 19 years as a consultant in Aerospace, and was inducted into the Texas A&M Corps Cadets Hall of Honor in 1994.
Horace Glenn Teel
Graduated Sanger High School 1936
Horace Glenn Teel graduated from Sanger High School in 1936 and attended North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) until he entered military service in 1941. During World War II, he served in the Second Battalion, 36th Division who were captured by the Japanese on the island of Java. They became known as the “Lost Battalion.” He was a Prisoner of War (POW) for almost four years and suffered through depredation, disease, beatings, starvation, and unbelievable labor. At the end of the war, Teel returned to college and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Abilene Christian College in 1948 and his master’s degree from North Texas State University in 1951. He worked for 29 years as a teacher and school administrator in many parts of Texas. Teel also authored a book about the “Lost Battalion” of Texas. The book explores what man will endure to remain free and what happens when they lose freedom to an aggressor nation.
Dr. John M. Sullivan, MD
Dr. John M. Sullivan, M.D., was a Sanger native, and he received top honors as a member of the first graduating class of Sanger in 1906. He received his M.D. at Fort Worth University Medical School which later became Baylor Medical School in Dallas. After medical school, Dr. Sullivan spent the rest of his life serving the people of Sanger. He practiced medicine for 47 years, and he was well known for his many charities. Dr. Sullivan provided help and medical attention for laborers who brought their families to pick cotton in the area. He never mailed a bill for his services. People paid when they could, and if they could not, he understood. Dr. and Mrs. Sullivan had two sons. Nelson Gambill Sullivan, a professor of business at the University of North Texas, and John Lewis Sullivan, a prominent attorney in Denton County who also served as city attorney for Sanger for 25 years.
Eunice Sullivan Gray
(Mrs. Paxton H.)
Eunice Sullivan Gray earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Education degree from SMU. Gray taught English and history courses in various Texas schools for 23 years. She also worked with her husband Paxton in the oil business for over 32 years, serving as a Corporate Executive. Gray traveled extensively and wrote several books and articles which include: “The Story of Sanger,” “The History of the First Baptist Church of Sanger,” and “A Study of Adjustment Problems of Junior High School Students.” She also wrote the column “Now and Then” for The Sanger Courier. She has been recognized as Sanger’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer of Texas by the Federated Women’s Club, and been awarded Sanger Silver Services Award. She was very influential in organizing the Sanger Public Library, the John B. Denton Chapter of DAR, the Sullivan Senior Center, and the Sanger Crisis Center. Gray is also responsible for placing numerous historical markers in Sanger.
Dr. Roma A. King
Professor, Priest, & Writer
Dr. Roma A. King was born in Sanger and graduated from Sanger High School. King entered the Army in 1941 and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He worked in various capacities in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and in the office of the Chief Signal Officer in Washington D.C. Dr. King was discharged in 1945 with the rank of Major. He later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University, and a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in English Literature and Theatre from the University of Michigan. Dr. King taught English literature at Baylor University and at the University of Michigan. He has published ten books and is the founding editor and contributor of the seventeenth volume edition of The Complete Works of Robert Browning and of the literary journal Mundus Atrium, An International Journal of Literature and the Arts. He is considered a world authority on the English poet Robert Browning. Dr. In 1969, he was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal church and continued both careers until he retired in 1980.
Marijohn Melson Wilkins
Songwriter, Publisher, Producer, Performer, and Recording Artist
Marijohn Melson Wilkins, a native Texan, graduated from Sanger High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Wilkins would later receive the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. Upon graduation, she taught music in the public school system in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before moving to Nashville, Tennessee to begin a career in songwriting. She penned such hits as “Waterloo,” “Long Black Veil,” “PT100,” and “Cut Across Shorty.” She formed the vocal group the Marijohn Singers, who provided back-up vocals for hundreds of recordings. She established her own publishing company, Buckhorn Music, in 1964 and signed a young writer Kris Kristofferson, who co-wrote “One Day at a Time.” She received “The Manny Award,” the highest honor in songwriting, and was placed into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. Wilkins also received the prestigious Dove Award in 1975. Her latest publishing effort was LeAnn Rimes’ album Blue, another #1 album.
Larry Tidwell graduated from Sanger High School in 1971, lettering in four sports: football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was selected as All-State Football (both offense and defense) and All-State Basketball in the same year. He was recruited by Texas Christian University to play both football and basketball in 1971-1972. He transferred to Austin College in 1972 where he lettered in football, baseball, and track. He was a member of Beta Chi Omega National Fraternity and earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1976. He began his coaching career at Frisco High School and later spent 18 years coaching in Lexington, Schulenburg, and Mexia High School, compiling a 283-64 career record. Ten of his women’s basketball teams made the state playoffs. He served on the board of directors for Texas Girls State High School Coaches Association and TABC. He was named “Teacher of the Year” on two occasions and “Citizen of the Year” at Schulenburg in 1991. He served as assistant coach and recruiter at South Florida, TCU, and Baylor. Five of his nine college recruiting classes have been recognized among the nation’s top 30. He has coached in the Big 12, Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, and the former Southwest Conference. He currently serves as associate head coach of the women’s basketball at TCU with impressive results posting 65 victories in three seasons. He is also recognized for the many things he does in the community and for the teaching/coaching profession. In 2002 he was honored for his efforts and earned AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year recognition. Among 300,000 candidates, he was one of just 500 assistant coaches across the country to receive this award.