ONEAL, CORA MAUD (1892~1999). The following is a obituary that ran in the Austin American Statesman after Cora Maud Oneal's death:
"Cora Maud Oneal was born September 4, 1892. She had residences in Wichita Falls, Austin, and until 1995 maintained a residence at The Texas Hotel in Fort Worth. She had been at The Regency Village Care Center, in Austin, for the past two years.
She celebrated her 107th birthday with her family and friends last Sunday. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. She was a devoted patron of decorative arts, and architecture, an author, historian, collector and gardener. She graduated with a degree in drama from Polytechnic College in Fort Worth, now Texas Wesleyan, in 1913.
After leaving Texas Wesleyan, she taught high school in Weatherford where she met and married attorney Ben G. Oneal. He served in the Texas Senate from 1931 to 1939. In 1935, among other legislation, he sponsored the amendment to the Texas Centennial Bill establishing state historical markers. He died November 14, 1960, and was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin. Mrs. Oneal's lifetime of service to the people of Texas centered in Austin in the 1930's.
She became the first Texas Highway Beautification Chairperson and made the creation of roadside parks and the preservation of native wildflowers her highest priorities. She served as fourth president of the Texas Garden Club pilgrimages to Mexico City from 1935 through 1960. During this 25-year period, she led over 2,000 individuals through the gardens and homes of Mexico and Latin America, while winning numerous awards for growing Dahlias.
She authored two books on gardening, Gardens and Homes of Mexico and Flower Arrangements of the Americas. In addition to her books on gardening, she wrote a number of plays, published a volume of Prize Winning One-Act Plays and authored the History of the Senate Ladies Club, Fifty Years, 1927-1977.
She served as archivist and historian for the Texas Senate Ladies Club. She was a member of the Austin's Women's Club and the Wichita Falls Women's Club. She was a past colony regent and presided and worked on behalf of the National Society of Magna Carta Dames. She loved the outdoors and published a number of fishing stories under the name of Billie Oneal in the Sportsman's Digest.
Her lifelong interest in decorative arts and architecture were at the forefront of a lifetime devoted to philanthropy. She served as the building chairman for the Fort Worth Women's Club Building, the Women's Forum Building in Wichita Falls as well as the archives building at Fort Belknap, named in her honor. She founded among other things at Texas Wesleyan the renovation of the Oneal-Sells Building, the creation of the Annie Norton Room and the Oneal Chair of Texas History.
She created the Charity Carroll Room at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in honor of her ancestors. In memory of her husband, she established the Ben G. Oneal Parlor in the Alumni Center at the University of Texas at Austin and became a charter member of the University Chancellor's Council in 1965.
In 1972, in honor of her friendship with Chancellor Harry Ransom and his assistant Frances Hudspeth, she established the Cora Maud Oneal Room in the Harry H. Ransom Humanities Research Center, furnished it with her extensive collection of decorative arts and donated her papers and those of Senator Oneal to the Center.
She participated in the University's acquisition of the Gutenberg Bible and permanently endowed the Oneal Room in the Ransom Center. She received an honorary Doctor of Humanities in 1963 and in 1983 was named a Distinguished Alumna.
In 1985 she donated her collection of books on decorative arts and provided funds to establish the Art Library Collection at the Festival-Institute at historic Round Top.
Lamar Lentz, her curator since 1975, said of Mrs. Oneal's achievements, 'Throughout her lifetime, Cora Maud Oneal dedicated her time, talents and resources to education and the preservation of historic interiors and the decorative arts. She valued the unique place the decorative arts held in the history of creativity in the course of civilization.'"
Further information available through the Texas State Cemetery research staff.