MCLEOD, JOAN MARGARET WILLIAMS (1944 ~ ). Joan Margaret Williams was born to a fourth generation Richmond, Texas family in Ft. Bend County, Joan Williams (McLeod) would grow to love Galveston Island and would later call it her home. She married two Galveston boys, both whom she met at a very young age and one of whom, her second husband Doug, became a prominent businessman, lawyer, and state legislator.
Joan and Doug McLeod both came from pioneer Texas families. Joan's paternal great-grandfather Judge J. C. Williams, a lawyer and, thereafter, a captain in the army of the Confederate States of America, first moved to Richmond in 1860. Her maternal great-grandfather, David Nation, however, became a captain in the Union Army and did not settle in Richmond until after the Civil War. An attorney by training, David Nation was a newspaper editor and owner of the National Hotel in Richmond but was most renowned because of his second wife, Carry Amelia Gloyd Nation (1846-1911), who led an ax-wielding campaign against booze and intemperance. Related to the Moody Family of Galveston by marriage, a family who yet owns the Menger Hotel in San Antonio (made famous in 1898 when Teddy Roosevelt recruited and organized his "Rough Rider" in the Menger Hotel's saloon). Joan Williams McLeod will with a big grin admit that her "step" great-grandmother Carry Nation chopped a hole in the saloon's bar during one of her nationally infamous raids. The cut in the bar is proudly displayed there to this day, but succession of Moody executives and hotel manager have forever teased Joan that she would "soon" be sent a bill for the expense to repair the damage!
Generations of the Williams Family prospered in the ranching business in Ft. Bend County. Joan's father, Manford Nation Williams, was one the County's leading citizens and served as a member and president of the school board in Richmond for 26 years. "Mr. Manford" is credited with the enormous accomplishment of consolidating all the schools into one unified district but also is credited with marrying the prettiest girl in the County, Margaret Steed Williams, a schoolteacher from Kennard, Texas. Joan would be their only daughter in a forty-year marriage that ended upon Manford's death in 1982. The "Williams" name is seen on landmarks throughout Ft. Bend County including the Manford Williams Elementary School in Richmond. Several years ago, the Williams Ranch (Williamswood) was also named in the Texas Family Land Heritage Program as a registered Texas Century Ranch, having been a continuous working ranch and farm through the same family since 1883. Joan, a land developer and licensed real estate broker, is a general partner of Williams Way Partnership, which manages the Williams property interests in Ft. Bend, Harris, and Galveston Counties.
Joan McLeod was never one to be outdone, and she very ably carried on the Williams/Steed tradition of service to her fellow women and men. Vitally and vigorously active in her community and its development, Joan reached out from her arrival in Galveston after graduation from college to touch every facet of civic and social life. Although Galveston became her beloved adopted island, she was born "Joan Margaret Williams" on July 20, 1944, in her hometown of Richmond and received her education from Jane Long Elementary, Lamar Junior High, Lamar Consolidated High School (2 years), St. Stephen's Episcopal High in Austin (last 2 years and graduate), The University of Texas, Plan II ( B. A. in history and fine arts) and Galveston College continuing education program (qualifying courses for her Texas Real Estate Broker's license). She was the recipient of numerous awards and honors at the schools she attended including president of the student council, Jane Long and Lamar Junior High, head cheerleader at Lamar and St. Stephen's High Schools, freshman favorite and runner-up, most beautiful at Lamar High, dormitory proctor, St. Stephens's, and was also recognized in and by many honor rolls, the National Honor Society, speech and drama awards, tennis team letters; and, at U. T. she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Besides maintaining an "A" average academically, Joan was an accomplished concert pianist (ten years of formal training) for her schools and church throughout her youth. She was also an accomplished ballroom dancer; and when in 1955 at age 11 she met her future husband, Doug McLeod, at a Camp Mystic/Camp Stewart dance, she could already turn heads as they jitterbugged to "Rock Around the Clock." From then on, the two kids would be friends and visited each other during the summers. One year, Doug rode horses on her ranch in Richmond, while on several occasions; she got to see him when she and her parents stayed at Galveston's historic Galvez Hotel. She still has a teddy bear he won her throwing baseballs at the amusement park (now demolished) at 24th & Seawall Boulevard.
As soon as she moved to Galveston, Joan immediately began doing volunteer work for her new community, a dedicated effort that continues to present day. Among her many accomplishments were: member of D.R.T. and D.A.R.: (1966), docent at the Samuel May Williams Home; (1967), began her 10 years as a Trinity Episcopal Church Sunday school teacher, and, as a young mother, worked tirelessly organizing other Sunday school teachers for Trinity as well as routing city busses to serve Trinity School (also, she served as Trinity bazaar chairperson); (1969-1970), served on Trueheart Adriance Building Restoration Committee. Moreover, at this time, Joan accepted the first Galveston County chair's position for the Channel 8 (PBS) public tele-auction, the result of her observance of the immense benefit of "Sesame Street" to her young daughters Meg and Libbie; (1970), Junior League Holiday Ball chair; (1972), Junior League Follies chair; (1972), chair, Galveston Artillery Club Mardi Gras Ball; (1972-75), Ashton Villa Restoration, committee for original furnishings and board member; (1973), Junior League representative for (SPAC) State Public Affairs Commission; (1974), royal court, duchess, Galveston Artillery Club, Mardi Gras Ball; (1974-75), Ashton Villa Historical Tours for Schoolchildren envisioned, implemented as chair and served as docent for 1,500 Galveston County fourth graders to be bussed there each year by the Junior League; (1976), Junior League representative to Galveston County Cultural Arts Council, representative to Galveston County Historical Foundation, and Galveston chairman for the U.S.A. bi-centennial celebration; (1977), nominated to serve on Texas State Historical Commission under Dolph Briscoe; (1977-84), Samuel May Williams Home restoration and furnishings committee; (1978), named to "Outstanding Young Women of America"; (1978-81), chairman of the Grand 1894 Opera House Restoration Drive, organized three Balinese Room fund raisers: "One More Spin," 1978; "Let's Spin Again," 1979; and "Another Spin," 1980 and sponsored "The Grand Angels" guild for youth and "The Grand Ambassadors" volunteers; also scheduled the after-performance parties series to promote chair holders; and during her husband Doug's third term in the Texas House of Representatives, attended Paramount Theater board meetings while in Austin, 1981; (1979-80), "Cart to the Arts" project, envisioned and implemented as chair a program whereby senior citizens were bussed to cultural arts series, exhibits, and special Historical Foundation events (a Junior League endeavor during 1976-82). Joan also did volunteer work with the Red Cross C.P.R. program and the Galveston "Glory Stories;" (1967-79), Junior League Board of Directors, five terms.
In addition to her many years of activity in the Junior League, Joan also served as the Galveston County Camp Mystic lifetime representative (a dedicated Camp Mystic camper and "M Girl," all five of Joan and Doug's daughters went to Camp Mystic in Hunt, Texas where they distinguished themselves as "Cup Girls," tribe captains, and counselors), as president of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni Club (her three daughters would become "Kappas" too), president of the Galveston Pan-Hellenic Association, and Dickens on the Strand and Historical Homes Tour volunteer. She further was involved in: (1978-present), member of Damas De Galvez, a society created by King Juan Carlos of Spain to promote Spanish culture in the United States. Joan speaks fluent Spanish, a talent which ahs been so useful to her in Texas throughout her lifetime; (1980-present), class of 1962 representative for St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. She was a boarding student there her junior and senior years in high school; (1979-1980s),"full-time" political campaigner for her husband; (1981),mother to new baby, Joanie; (1981-89, 2003-present), Legislative Women's Club helped organize the annual Easter egg hunt at the Governor's mansion in Austin; (1984-90), served as a member of the board of trustees of St. Stephen's Episcopal School; (1984), became principal broker of family business, McLeod Properties (established 1967) and its representative in the Galveston Chamber of Commerce; (1985), organized the opening ceremonies for the new 800 passenger Colonel Paddlewheel Ship for June 22, 1985; (1986), chair, Galveston's Sesquicentennial Texas celebration ball; (1986-present), designated as royalty chair and later honored by the krewe the Knights of Momus as "Honorary Royalty Trustee" for the annual Mardi Gras celebration which includes recruiting and co-coordinating an average of 20 duchesses per year for the Momus ball and night parade (all five of Joan and Doug's daughters would one day be elected queens of Galveston's Mardi Gras); (1987-89), active in Grand Parkway Association and was a land donor for right-of-way parcels; (1989-90), solicitation committee for Confederate Museum gala, River Oaks Country Club; (1990), Trinity Episcopal School auction, solicitations co-chair.
Over several decades, Joan also managed to find time to serve as president of the Cedar Lawn Association Garden Club, two terms, the association's beautification committee, the planning committee, and the Cedar Lawn cookbook committee. This was on top of her Mardi Gras duties from 1986 on, which always took five or six months of planning each year. Additionally, in 1993, she received a certificate of appreciation from the City of Rosenberg for donating land for park purposes; (1994), co-chair, Galveston Literacy Association gala ball; (1996), received the coveted Sustainer of the Year award (Galveston County Junior League); (1997), volunteer, Episcopal High School auction and garage sale committee, member, committee for planning the T-3 event, "Trinity Touching Three Centuries," and co-chair, major fundraising gala for the Galveston Railroad Museum, the "Galveston-Houston Connection;" (1998), co-chair for the grand opening New Years' gala of the Moody Gardens Hotel benefiting the Hope Therapy program; (1999), co-chair for the summer opening of the new Moody Gardens Aquarium reception and the Moody Gardens New Year's "Y2K Ball;" (2000-03), at the time this biography was written about Joan, March 2003, she had not only continued her civic and social volunteer work but had taken up serious grand parenting for new baby arrivals in the Ansell, Janek, and McLeod families. She also began her second term as state board member of the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, of which she is vice chairman.
Saving the best for last, Joan will best be remembered as a truly devoted woman to her family. On Joan and Doug's headstone at the Texas State Cemetery, the front side reads, "He served honorably his country, his state, his hometown. Forever, she will be a nurturing daughter, wife, mother, and friend, honored by many, rewarded with happiness, but truly blessed with children, Meg, Chanse, Libbie, Alex, Lindsey, and Joanie." If ever a question were asked as to what Joan Margaret Williams McLeod was like, her children and the people who knew her best would answer, "she was a loving, caring person first and foremost."
Information provided by McLeod and taken from Texas State Cemetery file materials.