Frances Emery Honored at LWV Annual Meeting
Although Frances Emery and her late husband Bill moved to the San Marcos area in 1957 when he joined the faculty at what was then Southwest Texas State College, it took her a few years to get involved with the San Marcos Area League of Women Voters.
Initially, she was drawn to the League because of her opposition to paying the Texas poll tax.
When Texans first voted on an amendment to repeal the poll tax on Nov. 9, 1963, the amendment failed. After the 24th amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed in 1964, poll taxes were prohibited in national elections. Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled poll tax unconstitutional in state elections, too. Finally, in November of 1966, the Texas Legislature passed an amendment to repeal the poll tax in Texas.
Although Frances Emery had been resistant to paying the poll tax, a member of the local League of Women Voters, which was formed in 1961, convinced her that, if she paid the poll tax in 1966, she could vote to abolish it, and she did.
Frances, who turned 90 earlier this month, recalls that there were several amendments on the ballot in that 1966 election and the League had pros and cons for each printed in the local newspaper. She remembers how impressed she was.
“From that time on, I was convinced that the League was an organization that I wanted to be part of,” she says, adding quickly, “And I have never changed my mind.” She joined the League in 1967, and she has been a loyal League member for 45 years.
It was a League assignment to monitor local city council and school board meetings that prompted her to run for office herself. After completing a year on the council, she was elected to the Edwards Underground Water District (now the Edwards Aquifer Authority) where she served for 11 years.
Frances Emery’s community service has been extensive during her years in San Marcos. She served on the Gary Job Corps Community Relations Council and helped start the Women’s Center. She said there were several League members involved in forming what is now the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center.
Among other local projects that are dear to her heart is the San Marcos Activity Center, She was on the center planning committee and served on the Parks and Recreation Board while it was being built.
Although hearing and mobility issues have caused her to step back from serving on boards and commissions today, her interest is by no means lessened.
A widow with two grown sons, both of whom are doctors, Frances Emery is a living legend in the San Marcos Area League of Women Voters.
That is why she was chosen for special recognition at the League’s annual meeting May 14, 2012 at the Price Center. After Jeannie Lewis gave a tribute in her honor, League President Carole Belver presented her with a bouquet of red roses and a commemorative plaque given by Dianne Wassenich.
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