DUDLEY, HAROLD KENNETH (1924 ~ 2006). The following is an obituary for Harold Kenneth Dudley provided by Harrell Funeral Home of Austin:
"Harold Kenneth Dudley, former campaign manager and executive assistant to Governor Preston Smith, beloved for his insight, intelligence, good humor and helpful, generous spirit, died April 24th in Austin. He was 82.
Harold was a graduate of Wichita Falls High School and served three years in the Navy before earning his degree from Midwestern State University, where he was later named a Distinguished Alumnus. He also earned a degree from the University of Colorado School of Advanced Management and received an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Harold got his professional start with the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, where he worked from 1954 to 1964. During that time, he successfully promoted what was then the largest bond issuance in the city's history.
In 1965, Smith tapped Harold to run his ultimately successful campaign for lieutenant governor. Later, when Smith ran for governor in 1968, he selected Harold to be his campaign manager. Being successful once again, Harold managed the office of the new Governor Smith in 1969-70. The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House selected Harold to study, create and develop the Texas Drug Abuse Program to combat the emerging drug problem in Texas, for which he received wide commendation.
Mickey Smith, son of Governor Smith and a key advisor and organizer in his father's campaigns, remembered Harold 'as a great man who was greatly admired by those of us who knew him.'
George Phenix, long-time publisher of the Texas Weekly political newsletter and former media director for the 1968 Smith gubernatorial campaign, recalled that 'Harold was unspoiled by politics. He preferred to think of it as government. Somehow through the campaigns, he managed to remain one of the kindest human beings you would ever want to meet.'
Close friend and the press secretary during Smith's 1968 campaign, Jerry Conn, recalled 'being greeted every morning by Harold's hearty 'Howdy, Feller!' Harold's down-home, unassuming personality sometimes concealed a sly sense of humor and a keen, well-informed intellect that was always a step ahead of every one else, particularly during that incredibly jam-packed, talent-filled and hard-fought 1968 Democratic primary.'
Following his tenure in the governor's office, Harold served as chairman and executive director of the then-Texas Employment Commission and then as assistant commissioner and administrator of the Business Management Division at the then-Texas Department of Human Resources. His work included overseeing a statewide audit of administrative activities, policy development, inventory management and providing support services for 12, 000 state employees.
Among his civic roles, Harold chaired the Governor's Committee on Employment and the Handicapped, and served on both the South Texas Cultural Basin Commission and the state Committee for Development of Children and Youth.
In retirement, Harold remained active in community causes and was known for his devotion to the Lord and his generous spirit. He loved growing vegetables on his farms in Travis and Bastrop counties, and derived great pleasure from giving them to friends and family.
Although Harold was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease nine years ago, neither he nor his dedicated family ever let the disease rob him of his enjoyment of life. The disease helped reawaken Harold's love of song and dance. Harold's wife Frances fondly recalled how Harold would begin dancing or marching spontaneously, most often to music only he could hear, and it was useless to try to stop him until he was completely satisfied that the song was over.
Harold was preceded in death by his mother, Vivian Morris Dudley, his father, Jesse L. Dudley, and his brother, Don Dudley. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Frances, their two sons, Tom Dudley of Austin and Tim Dudley of Boston; and by two children from a previous marriage, Donna Schluter and her husband Gary of Ponder and Kenny Dudley of Austin, as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by numerous relatives and friends that were an important part of his life.
A graveside memorial service to honor Harold's new life with his Lord, conducted by Rev. Larry Wileman and Rev. Mark Wingfield, will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 27th at the Texas State Cemetery. A reception and celebration of Harold's life will follow the service in the George Christian Reception Room located on the grounds of the cemetery. The family wishes to thank the staff of Barton Hills Assisted Living for their loving, attentive care to Harold during the past month.
The family requests that memorial contributions in lieu of flowers be directed to Midwestern State University, Office of Donor Services, 3410 Taft Boulevard, Wichita Falls, TX 76308; the Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church (The Gathering) 7127 Bee Cave Road, Austin, TX 78746, and A-Med Community Hospice, 7800 Shoal Creek Blvd., Suite 242 South, Austin, TX 78757."
Further information available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.