MCDANIEL, MYRA ATWELL (1932 ~ 2010). The following is a family-placed obituary for Myra Atwell McDaniel, former Texas Secretary of State. The obituary was provided by King Tears Mortuary.
Myra Atwell McDaniel was born on December 13, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was educated at the prestigious schools of Philadelphia's Girl's High, the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas Law School. She knew that education was an equalizing key to success and she encouraged all that she mentored to take full advantage of all educational opportunities.
She was devoted to her career pursuits and after various positions she held while raising her children, she began her legal career at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. She served as the first African American Secretary of State for the State of Texas from 1984 - 1987, and practiced law in Austin, Texas for more than 30 years. She became managing partner of the law firm then known as Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Keever and McDaniel in 1995. Among many awards through her distinguished career, in 2006 she was awarded the Sandra Day O'Conner Award for Professional Excellence. She often reminded others, "We've got to see our opportunities as opportunities and not as burdens."
Myra was active in her church serving as senior warden, chairing a successful capital campaign that raised $1 million to build a new sanctuary and editing the church newsletter every month for over twelve years. Community service was second nature to Myra. She was on a multitude of civic and community boards and supported many organizations through her philanthropy. She served on many boards, including St. Edward's University, Seton Hospital and the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest. Some of her favorite non-profit organizations were St. Edward's University, Austin Lyric Opera and SafePlace. She felt that community support and giving was a requirement for those who were able. Her modest approach to life afforded her the ability to share the riches she enjoyed with others.
Myra's life was balanced with leisure activities. She was an avid sports fan as she appreciated the spirit of competition. She was an ardent supporter of The University of Texas Women's basketball program, loved Longhorn football and her San Antonio Spurs. She read murder mysteries for relaxation and challenged her mind with word puzzles.
Myra learned from an early age the importance of taking care of family and epitomized that value everyday. She provided unconditional support to those around her, setting an example of generosity, humor and love. Her life serves as a model to her family, her colleagues and her friends.
Myra McDaniel is survived by her husband, Dr. Reuben R. McDaniel, Jr.; her daughter Diane Rhodes and her husband Michael; her son Reuben R. McDaniel, III and his wife Kim; her grandchildren Jenny, Cassidi, Emily, Lauren, Tristan, Ted and Raquel; four great-grandchildren; her sister Virginia Braxton and her husband Stanley; and two Sisters In-Law, Joann Phillips and Alma Atwell.
In Lieu of flowers, kindly support the St. James Episcopal Church Capital Campaign by sending donations to the church address below. Please include on the memo line "Capital Campaign Fund – Myra McDaniel".
Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.