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Leona Troxell

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Title: Leona Troxell  
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Subject: Winthrop Rockefeller, List of people from Arkansas, Frank D. White, Joe Purcell, Little Rock National Cemetery, List of people from Little Rock, Arkansas, Ken Coon, Len E. Blaylock
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Leona Troxell

Leona Anderson Troxell Dodd
Born (1913-04-22)April 22, 1913
Johnstown, Fulton County
New York, USA
Died July 26, 2003(2003-07-26) (aged 90)
Judsonia, White County, Arkansas
Residence Rose Bud, White County, Arkansas

Arkansas Republican National Committeewoman

Political activist
Government employee
Religion Baptist

(1) Nolan Troxell (died 1971)

(2) Russell Dodd (He predeceased her.)
Children No children

Leona Anderson Troxell Dodd, known politically as Leona Troxell (April 22, 1913–July 26, 2003), was a native New Yorker who was a pioneer in the development of the Republican Party in her adopted state of Arkansas. She was president of the National Republican Women's Committee from 1963 to 1967, during which time she became involved in the gubernatorial campaigns of another New York State native, Winthrop Rockefeller. She was also a former Republican national committeewoman from Arkansas. For a time, she was director of the Arkansas Employment Security Division in the Rockefeller administration.

Mrs. Troxell was born in Johnstown in Fulton County in New York to Frank and Clara Anderson. She was the dean of women at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, before she married Nolan Troxell (1904–1971) and moved to tiny Rose Bud in White County north of the state capital of Little Rock.

In 1968, when Rockefeller was re-elected to his second term as governor, Mrs. Troxell was the unsuccessful candidate for state treasurer. She was defeated by the Democratic incumbent Nancy J. Hall (1904–1991). Troxell polled 218,804 votes (37.4 percent) to Hall's 365,540 (62.6 percent). Troxell won five of the seventy-five Arkansas counties: Searcy, Baxter, Benton, Carroll, and Washington counties, but she did not prevail in her own White County. Hall, the wife of the late Secretary of State C.G. "Crip" Hall, was first elected treasurer in 1962 and served until 1981. Mrs. Hall was also the first woman ever elected to statewide constitutional office in Arkansas.

In 1974, Troxell ran for lieutenant governor on the Republican gubernatorial ticket headed by the more conservative Ken Coon. First, she defeated in the GOP primary an African American candidate, Andrew Bearden, who was allied with the controversial newspaper editor, Joseph H. Weston of Cave City in Sharp County in northern Arkansas, whose work had led to a landmark change in state libel law.[1] As the Republican nominee, Troxell pledged to bring "decorum" to the Arkansas State Senate, over which the lieutenant governor presides. However, she was handily defeated by the former Democratic Attorney General Joe Purcell (1923–1987) of Benton, the seat of Saline County. In a heavily Democratic year, Troxell received only 121,302 votes (23 percent) to Purcell's 406,040 (77 percent). She carried no counties in what turned out to have been her last venture on a ballot. Coon was defeated by David Hampton Pryor, but he ran some 65,000 votes ahead of ticket-mate Troxell. Purcell served as lieutenant governor until 1981.

In 1981, Mrs. Troxell questioned the appointment of former Governor Orval Eugene Faubus as director of the scandal-plagued Arkansas Veterans's Affairs Department. The selection was made by Governor Frank D. White, only the second Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction. ". . . Obviously, I do not want to go back to the kind of regime we had when he was governor . . . Believe me, that was machine politics at its worst," Mrs. Troxell said of the Faubus era (1955–1967). Among those defending the selection were former gubernatorial candidate Len E. Blaylock of Perry County, U.S. Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt of Harrison, and former State Representative Danny L. Patrick. These Republicans argued that Faubus was ideally suited for this particular position.

Troxell also questioned Governor White over the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. When White declined to include ERA in the agenda for a special legislative session in the fall of 1981, Troxell attempted to meet with White. "I asked if there was any opportunity for a group to see the governor, but his schedule was completely full," Troxell told the Arkansas Gazette.

Mrs. Troxell was an active member of the Rose Bud First Baptist Church, having worked over the years with the youth, the choir, and the Women's Missionary Union. She established the Nolan and Leona Troxell Perpetual Church Scholarship. In 1994, the Rose Bud congregation named its new church education building after her.

She was a past chairman of the Arkansas Heart Association and a member of Order of the Eastern Star.

Mrs. Troxell Dodd died in a nursing home in Judsonia in White County. She was survived by two nephews, Karl Gustafson of Boulder, Colorado and Dick Gustafson of Oneonta, New York. She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband, her second husband, Russell Dodd, and a sister, Jeanette Gustafson (1919–1997). Services were held at the Rose Bud First Baptist Church. Interment was at the Little Rock National Cemetery.


Arkansas Outlook, Republican Party newsletter, May 1974

"Arkansas Election Statistics, 1972 and 1974 (Little Rock: Secretary of State)

Arkansas Gazette, August 5, 1981; November 13, 1981

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