VOWELL, RAYMOND WOODROW (1914~1979) Raymond Woodrow Vowell was born December 13, 1914, in Taylorsville, Smith County, Mississippi, to Charles H. and Emma Elizabeth (Gregg) Vowell. He married Lida Ruth Stockton Vowell on April 24, 1943, in Kingsville, Texas. Vowell spent a total of 31 years in public service. He was director of the Texas Department of Public Welfare from July 1, 1971, until August 31, 1977. Previously, he was vice chancellor for public affairs for the University of Texas System.
Recognized as a strong administrator and advocate of federal funding of welfare programs, Vowell timed his retirement in 1977 to coincide with the conversion of the public welfare office to the Texas Department of Human Resources. Technically, he served two days as head of the new agency.
During his career as state welfare director, Vowell received some criticism for failing to institute enough change in the department. At the time of his retirement, he said that public welfare in Texas is moving into a new era and the Board of Public Welfare should ?have the opportunity to select a commissioner with more potential tenure than I can offer.?
Since his retirement, he had worked as a consultant and lobbyist. Although one longtime colleague did not know whom he represented, his clients were known to include business interests of Dallas computer magnate H. Ross Perot.
During his time as commissioner of the Texas Department of Public Welfare, Vowell broadened the Medicaid program, instituted the food stamp program to include all 254 Texas counties, and instigated a campaign to report and prevent child abuse and increased welfare fraud investigations.
He frequently testified before congressional committees in Washington and occasionally lost battles with the Texas Legislature over the amount of appropriated funds for welfare. Vowell died of a heart attack on December 3, 1979, in Austin, Texas, at the age of 64 years. Biography taken from Austin American-Statesman, December 4, 1979.