Wayne Connally

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Wayne Wright Connally

Texas State Representative
for District 59
In office

Texas State Senator for District 21
In office
Preceded by Abraham "Chick" Kazen, Jr.
Succeeded by John Andrew Traeger

Born March 19, 1923
Floresville, Wilson County, Texas, USA
Died December 20, 2000 (aged 77)
Cody, Park County, Wyoming
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Kay Connally (divorced)
Children Wyatt, Wesley, and Pamela
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Rancher
Religion United Methodist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Wayne Wright Connally (March 19, 1923 – December 20, 2000) was a Texas rancher, a Democratic member of both houses of the Texas legislature, and a brother of both former Governor and United States Treasury Secretary John Bowden Connally, Jr., and Merrill Lee Connally, Sr., an actor and a former county judge.


Connally was born into a family of eight children and reared in Floresville in Wilson County some thirty miles southeast of San Antonio. His father, John Connally, Sr., was a tenant farmer who once ran for county clerk. His mother, the former Lela Wright, gave him his middle name. After attending public schools in Floresville and San Antonio, Connally attended the University of Texas at Austin. He thereafter enlisted during World War II in the United States Army Air Corps, the forerunner of the Air Force.[1]

Legislative years

In 1964, when John Connally was handily victorious to the second of three consecutive two-year terms as governor by defeating Republican Jack Crichton, Wayne Connally was elected to the District 44 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Two years later, Wayne Connally was elected to the state Senate from District 21 and served until January 1973. In the 1970 Democratic primary, he defeated the Hispanic activist, Erasmo Andrade.[2] With the increasing clout of minorities in Democratic primaries, Andrade was considered a serious opponent. Andrade questioned why Connally had voted against a state minimum wage proposal, a teacher pay hike, and in support of retaining the state sales tax on food. Wayne Connally, like his brother a protégé of Lyndon B. Johnson, retained his seat from the unexpected challenge.[3]

On October 7, 1971, Connally was honored as "Governor for a Day," his last two years in office.[4]

Wayne Connally worked with John Connally to lay the groundwork for the first upper-level higher education institution in Laredo, in Webb County in south Texas. Texas A&I University at Laredo opened in 1969 and was renamed Laredo State University. In 1993, the institution was renamed, expanded, and relocated as the current Texas A&M International University off the Bob Bullock Expressway.[5]

Connally's chief of staff was Laredo attorney Carlos Zaffirini, Sr., (born 1944). Zaffirni's wife, Judith Pappas Zaffirini (born 1946), has held Connally's former Senate seat since her first election in 1986. She was a part-time media aide to Connally.[6]

Death and legacy

Connally died in Cody, Wyoming, where he had relocated in his later years to be near his children.[1] Survivors included two sons, Wyatt Connally and Wesley Connally, and a daughter Pamela; four grandchildren; his brother, Merrill (who died the following year), and his sister, Blanche Connally Kline. The Texas State Senate introduced a resolution on March 19, 2001, on what would have been Connally's 78th birthday, to recognize his public service.[5]

Connally was cremated, his ashes were scattered on the family ranch in Floresville, and a cenotaph was erected in his honor at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.[1]

Ralph Moody Hall (also born 1923 and hence the senior member of the Texas delegation to the United States House of Representatives) of Rockwall near Dallas served with Connally in the state Senate. Hall died in 2019 at the age of ninety-five. The two also ran against each other for lieutenant governor in the 1972 Democratic primary. Both lost to William Pettus Hobby, Jr., whose mother, Oveta Culp Hobby, owned the former Houston Post newspaper.[7] Upon Connally's death, Hall introduced into the Congressional Record his personal tribute to his fallen friend: "He was a terrific Senator, totally dedicated ... so very capable of friendship, and ... always responsive to anyone in need. Wayne's over-riding goal was to uphold integrity and responsibility in government... Wayne embodied the Texas persona—and he leaves behind a legacy of faithful service to the people of his native state that he so loved."[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Texas State Cemetery: Wayne Connally (cenotaph). cemetery.state.tx.us. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  2. José Ángel Gutiérrez (May 4, 1970). Mexicanos Need to Control Their Own Destinies. La Raza Unida. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  3. Charles Ashman, Connally: The Adventures of Big Bad John, p. 172.
  4. Texas state legislative leaders. Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 U.S. Representative Ralph Hall of Texas, Congressional Record remarks (June 28, 2001). Retrieved on December 25, 2008; remarks no longer accessible on-line.
  6. Office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini. Texas State Senate (January 12, 2005). Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  7. Statement of William P. Hobby, Jr.. Hobby Communications. Retrieved on December 25, 2008; material no longer accessible on-line..