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Mrs. W.K. Gordon Jr., founding donor of Gordon Center, passes away
Mrs. W.K. Gordon Jr.

Tarleton State University

Friday, February 7, 2014

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Mrs. Anna Melissa Hogsett Gordon, philanthropist and trustee of the W.K. Gordon Jr. Foundation who donated generously to Tarleton State University, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 4. She was 95.

The impact of Mrs. Gordon is well established on the Tarleton campus. The W.K. Gordon Center for the Industrial History of Texas, a museum and research facility of the university located in Thurber, was made possible by Mrs. Gordon and the W.K. Gordon Jr. Foundation.

The Center, named for Mrs. Gordon’s father-in-law, William Knox Gordon, opened in November 2002 and tells the story of the birth and death of Thurber, a company-owned mining town that was once the largest city between Fort Worth and El Paso.

W.K. Gordon Jr. was born in 1910 and raised in Thurber. He later went on to a successful career as an oil and gas producer, rancher, businessman and Fort Worth civic leader. In 1934, he married Anna Melissa Hogsett. Her family had deep roots in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Following his death in 1996, Mrs. Gordon and the Gordon Foundation funded numerous philanthropic causes in North Texas. Historical preservation and history were among her deepest interests.

In 2011, with a gift of $6 million, Mrs. Gordon became the largest single donor to Tarleton in the university’s 112-year history. Her gift included $1 million for general scholarships and $5 million for continued funding of the W.K. Gordon Center.

“Mrs. Gordon’s contributions to Tarleton State University are, in their own right, historical. We are grateful for her vision, her passion for preserving the past and her faith in our university,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “She cherished Thurber’s story, and leaves behind a legacy that is unmatched in our time. For generations to come, students, scholars and the public will benefit from her thoughtful gifts and generosity.”

“Through her generosity, Mrs. Gordon not only aided students in attending Tarleton State University but she also introduced thousands of Texans to the story of Thurber and the industrial past through the W.K. Gordon Center,” said Dr. T. Lindsay Baker, endowed chair of southwestern history and coordinator of the center. “One of Mrs. Gordon’s greatest passions was spreading the story of Thurber where her father-in-law was the general manager of mines and the discoverer of the Ranger oil field. I believe it was one of her greatest pleasures when she saw her dream of telling the story of Thurber come to life at the W.K. Gordon Center museum.”

A memorial service for Mrs. Gordon will be held at a later date.


Tarleton State University
A member of the Texas A&M University System

Contact: Joe Michael Feist

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Mrs. W.K. Gordon Jr.