How would you respond if your dad were to tell you the family would be moving to a home that was previously owned and occupied  by a famous United States Senator?

That’s what Tom Konz’s father, Louis, told Tom, his mother, Helen, and Tom’s three sisters in 1968. As many of you know, Tom is Pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church in Stepheville. Tom’s father was also a Lutheran pastor. The family moved to Marlin in Falls County in 1968, when Tom was a junior in high schools. Rev. Louis Konz had been assigned to the Grace Lutheran Church in Marlin. The home was the former residence for U.S. Senator Tom Connally (1877-1963) and his wife, Louise, and their son, Ben. The Grace Lutheran Church had leased the house as a parsonage for its pastor. 

The home was located at 402 Capps St. about two blocks east of Marlin High School and the Marlin Elementary School. The church was located on Houghton Ave., about four blocks north of the parsonage.

Senator Connally was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1928. Due to his age, he did not choose to run for another term in 1952 and stepped down from his Senate seat on January 1, 1953. He was succeeded by former Texas Governor Price Daniel. A native of Falls County, Senator Connally would pass away 10 years later on Oct. 29, 1963. He is buried beside his wife in Calvary Cemetery in Marlin.

Konz  recalls, “The house was well located for us -- close to the schools so we could walk to school. Since my mother was the school nurse, she could also walk to her office.”

The future Stephenville pastor remembers his bedroom had  apparently  been  a screened-in back porch before being converted into a bedroom.

“The main items I remember about the house were the front porch, which extended the full width of  the house;  the senator’s office, which was located in the front part of the home, and which was entered through two large sliding, wooden doors; the beautiful staircase and the many windows throughout the house. I think the house is still standing – it was when I was last in Marlin about two years ago,” Konz recalls.

Tom’s father was a Lutheran pastor from 1944 until his death in 2006. Tom’s mother is also deceased. Tom’s parents lived in the Connally home for six years (1968-1974).

Tom, who is 62, graduated from Marlin High School in 1970, came to Tarleton State on a football scholarship. He graduated from TSU in 1974.  He returned to Stephenville with his wife,  Cheryl, in 1998, to lead the local Faith Lutheran Church. He had been the pastor of  a Lutheran church in Eden (Concho County).  The couple has three children – Bethany, 35; Mary, 34, and Paul, 29.

Good news

Some positive info came Stephenville’s way in the past few days. It concerns the construction of a new Emergency Department complex for the local hospital. The new facility, which will be located at the north end of the present hospital,  will have 9,500 square feet compared with about 3,000 square feet for the present ER.

That’s the word from the Christopher Leu, president of Harris Methodist Stephenville Hospital.

A tad short

May’s rainfall in Stephenville lacked only .24 of an inch reaching the average monthly amount of 4.70 inches. Total rainfall last month in Stephenville was 4.46 inches.

Total rainfall through the first five months in 2014 is 7.26 inches, which compares with an average amount for the same period of 14.00 inches. This translates into a deficit of 6.74 inches for the period of January through May in 2014.

Stephenville’s average rainfall for June is 3.40  inches.

’TIL NEXT TIME – “It’s not the applause when you arrive, but the judgment after you leave.” – Pamela Harriman (1921-1997), United States Ambassador to France, 1993-1997.

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville.