Frank W. Mayborn

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Frank Willis Mayborn

(Texas newspaper publisher, broadcaster, and political activist)​

Political party Democrat

Born December 7, 1903​
Akron, Summit County, Ohio, USA​
Died May 16, 1987​ (aged 83)
Temple, Bell County, Texas
Spouse (1) Ruth Whitesides (married 1929-1946, divorced)
(2) Wythel Killen (married 1947-1972, divorced)
(3) Anyse Sue White (married 1981-1987, his death.

Ward Carlton and Nellie Childs Welton Mayborn
Alma mater:
W. H. Adamson High School (Dallas)
University of Colorado

Religion Presbyterian

Frank Willis Mayborn (December 7, 1903 – May 16, 1987) was a Texas newspaper publisher and philanthropist who played a crucial role in the regional development of Temple and Bell County, located north of the state capital of Austin.[1]


Mayborn was born in Akron, Ohio to Ward Carlton Mayborn and the former Nellie Childs Welton. Ward Mayborn, who was an executive of the E. W. Scripps newspaper chain, moved the family in 1910 to Westminster, Colorado, a suburb of Denver that became the seventh largest city in the state. In 1919, the Mayborns relocated to Dallas, Texas, where young Frank graduated in 1922 from W. H. Adamson High School, then known as Oak Cliff High School because it was located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood.[2]

In 1926, Mayborn received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He worked as a correspondent for several publications while in high school (The Dallas Dispatch) and in college (Denver Post and United Press International). Thereafter, he was an advertising salesman for the Dallas News (since The Dallas Morning News) and then served in management positions for the Northern Texas Traction Company in Fort Worth.​[2]

Texas media mogul

​ Mayborn published The Temple Daily Telegram, The Killeen Daily Herald, The Sherman Democrat in Sherman in Grayson County and The Taylor Press in Taylor in Williamson County. He established KCEN-TV, the NBC outlet for Temple and nearby Waco in McLennan County, Texas.​[2] ​ Along with his father and brothers, Mayborn purchased the Telegram Publishing Company in Temple just days after the Wall Street crash of 1929. Ward Mayborn at first urged Frank to sell The Telegram for whatever he could command, considering the gloomy economic picture by 1930. Mayborn, however, was determined to make a success in Temple and continued as the business manager of the newspaper, a position that he held until 1945, when he was elevated to editor and publisher. That same year, Mayborn purchased The Sherman Democrat.[2]

In 1952, he became, first, part-owner and, then, sole owner-operator of The Killeen Herald (subsequently the Killeen Daily Herald). In 1959, he obtained The Taylor Press, which he sold in 1974. Three years later, he sold The Sherman Democrat but continued as editor and publisher of the Temple and Killeen newspapers until his death.[2]

Mayborn was also a radio and television pioneer. In 1936, he started radio station KTEM (AM) in Temple. In 1945, he founded WMAK radio (now WNQM, a Christian station in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1953, he founded KCEN-TV, named "CEN" for "Central Texas."[2]

Military service

An active civic booster, Mayborn worked tirelessly to promote Bell County. In 1939-1940, he chaired the military affairs committee of the Temple Chamber of Commerce. First Camp Hood, then Fort Hood, the largest United States Army base in the United States, was established in Killeen and nearby Coryell County. Mayborn and the committee obtained the Veterans Center in Temple, named for Olin Earl "Tiger" Teague (1910-1981), a member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas.[2]

In 1942, at the age of thirty-six, Mayborn enlisted in the Army as a public relations officer. In 1944, he joined the staff of General Dwight D. Eisenhower as assistant chief of the U.S. public relations office. He received a Bronze Star and left military service as a major in 1945. He remained active in military matters, having served on the civilian advisory board for most of the commanders at Fort Hood. In 1968, he accompanied an old acquaintance, General Bruce Clarke, to the former South Vietnam on a fact-finding tour. On his return, he reported to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson on the reliability of the controversial M16 rifle. In 1979, Mayborn was rewarded for his contributions to the Army when he was named the recipient of the Creighton W. Abrams Medal, named for the second U.S. commander in the Vietnam War, for his contributions to the Army.​[2]

Political activities

​ Mayborn was also a political confidant of Texas Democrats, President Johnson, Governor John Connally, and U.S. Representatives W. R. Poage and Sam Rayburn, the long-term House Speaker. He also advised Oveta Culp Hobby, secretary of the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (since the Department of Health and Human Services), and United States Secretary of Commerce Jesse H. Jones. By the 1970s, with the defection of Connally to the Republican Party, Mayborn began to support some GOP candidates.​[2]

Disputed 1948 U.S. Senate runoff election

​ In 1946, Mayborn was elected to the Texas Democratic State Central Committee. While on the committee, he played a crucial role in the disputed senatorial primary runoff election of 1948 for the seat vacated by the retiring Willard Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel (1890-1969).

The state committee was asked to declare the winner of the primary after supporters of former Governor Coke Robert Stevenson (1888-1975), a conservative Democrat, accused Johnson's campaign of fraudulent voting practices, particularly in Jim Wells County, one of the south Texas "machine" counties controlled by George Berham Parr (1901-1975), the iron-fisted political boss of Duval County. Eighty-seven primary votes were in dispute.[3]

John Connally, then Johnson's campaign manager, summoned Mayborn from a business trip in Nashville, where Mayborn owned a radio station, to cast the deciding vote in what was to be the committee's 29-28 decision to declare Johnson the winner of the Democratic senatorial nomination.[2] U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a former U.S. Senator from Alabama, declared that the Democratic committee would have the sole power to select the nominee, a crushing blow to the Stevenson campaign. Thereafter, embittered at the outcome of the senatorial nomination, Stevenson headed the "Democrats for Nixon" Committee in Texas in 1960, when Johnson was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee on the ticket headed by then Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and also a candidate for senatorial reelection opposed by the Republican John Tower.


In 1989, Odie B. Faulk and Laura E. Faulk published a Mayborn biography, Frank Mayborn: A man who made a difference.[4] Indeed Mayborn was involved in the development of many Bell County institutions. He served on the advisory board of the acclaimed Scott & White Memorial Hospital and played an important role in the location of the Texas A&M University Medical Center in Temple. A longtime advocate of a convention center for Temple, Mayborn donated more than fifteen acres of land for the Frank W. Mayborn Convention Center, which was completed in 1982, five years before his death. The facility includes the Mayborn Museum Complex.​[2]

As an advocate for education, Mayborn was active in the founding of the two-year Central Texas College near Killeen, which services many military personnel from Fort Hood. He also started the annual Bell County spelling be]. He endowed a chair at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Mayborn served on journalism advisory boards at both the University of Texas and Texas A&M. Mayborn established a journalism chair at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University of Waco.[5] He was a trustee and a donor to George Peabody College in Nashville. The large Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center was endowed after his death at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton in Bell County.​

Rayborn worked with Congressman Poage to obtain two Central Texas reservoirs, Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes.. He worked to obtain the designation of the Killeen-Temple-Belton-Fort Hood area as a standard metropolitan statistical area though the four units are not directly contiguous. He was president of the Texas Publishers Association in 1941 and of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association in 1961.​[2]

Over the years, Mayborn received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and the Distinguished Citizen Award of the Boy Scouts, an organization that he tirelessly supported over the years. He was inducted into the Communications Hall of Fame at Texas Tech. He also supported numerous charitable projects through his Frank W. Mayborn Foundation.​ ​

Personal life

​ Mayborn was married to Ruth Whitesides (1906–1977) from 1929 to 1946 and Wythel Killen (1912–2001) from 1947 to 1972. Both marriages ended in divorce. In 1981, Mayborn married the Anyse Sue White (born 1936),[2]who, thirty-three years his junior, succeeded him as editor and publisher of the Temple and Killeen papers and president of KENS-TV.​[5] ​ He was a Mason and a Presbyterian.

Mayborn died of a heart attack in Temple at the age of eighty-three.​

The Texas Daily Newspaper Association offers the annual Frank Mayborn Award for Community Leadership to recognize a publisher or other newspaper executive who contributed during the past year to the improvement of society.

Posthumously, the journalism graduate program at the University of North Texas was named in 1999 as the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. With assistance from his business partner, Frank M. Burke, Jr. (1940-2010) of Dallas, the journalism department at the University of North Texas became in 2009 the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism.[6]


  1. Frank Mayborn obituary, Temple Daily Telegram, May 17, 1987.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 [​ Mayborn, Frank Willis]. Texas State Historical Association: The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on October 23, 2019.
  3. Parr, George Berham. Texas State Historical Association: The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on October 23, 2019.
  4. Odie B. and Laura E. Faulk. Frank W. Mayborn: A man who made a difference. Retrieved on October 23, 2019. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mayborn Foundation Commits $5 Million to Discovery Campaign. (July 6, 2000). Retrieved on October 23, 2019.
  6. Frank Burke, Jr., obituary. The Dallas Morning News (July 29, 2010). Retrieved on October 23, 2019.

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