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Patsy Hallman named Citizen of the Year
Posted 09 - 05 - 2009
Photo of Dr. Patsy Hallman.

Patsy Hallman named Citizen of the Year
By Elisabeth Angelique Daniel
Chamber Intern

A web-search of “Patsy Hallman, Nacogdoches Texas,” leads to the Nacogdoches American Association of University Women site, where she is listed as committee chair for the Woman of the Year banquet. The next several links indicate her involvement in the 20th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival. The third link leads to a personal web page which briefly and modestly highlights her impressive professional career as an educator. She says she wishes to be known for her educational leadership and her passion for history, family and community. This year she’ll add one more title to her honors – Nacogdoches’ Citizen of the Year for 2009.

Patsy Johnson was born in 1935, the only daughter of Don and Edna Johnson. She was raised with two younger brothers in a loving home where great emphasis was always placed on church, education and community service. Her father was a farmer and contractor who served on the school board. Her mother was a secretary, educator and president of the PTA who was always active in their community. Her mother “never said no to a call of service,” Patsy recalled.

Growing up in Miller Grove, Texas just southwest of Sulphur Springs, Patsy always wanted to be a teacher. She loved stories about her ancestors. She fondly claims to have been “reared in a compound” with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and a constant stream of callers. She excelled in reading and piano and served as president of her class and the Future Homemakers of America. She graduated as valedictorian, of a class of seven from Miller Grove High School. She attended East Texas State Teachers’ College in Commerce, graduated with honors in just three years, and began the first year of her teaching career in El Paso in 1955. Her career as a mother began soon after in 1960 with the birth her first, then second child in Houston, with her first husband who eventually took a job in Nacogdoches.

Patsy began imparting the value of etiquette and professional presentation to students early in her teaching career. During her first few years in Nacogdoches she taught high school as she pursued and achieved her master’s degree in education at Stephen F. Austin State University in 1965. By 1969 she was part of the SFA faculty, teaching home economics and assisting with fashion shows and auctions for Alpha Delta Kappa. In 1970 she published her first work, “Role Modeling for the Student Teacher” in the Texas Teacher Education Forum. By 1973 she had earned her doctorate in management from Texas Women’s’ University. In the seven years that followed she published five more works. In 1980 she married Leon Hallman at the First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches.

She remembers her mother’s voice charging: “When someone asks you to do something for your community, you do it!” And though she remains humble about her achievements, Patsy’s resume of community service would certainly make her mother proud.

In 1989, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce hosted the inaugural Blueberry Festival. Patsy and Leon’s brainchild, now the Texas Blueberry Festival, celebrated its twentieth birthday this year. “We felt it important to have an event that would be free to everyone, highlight the blueberry industry and focus on our downtown,” Patsy said.

She has earned a multitude and variety of achievement awards as well, named SFA’s Distinguished Professor in 1990, the American Association of University Women’s Woman of the Year in 1993, and she was inducted into the Nacogdoches Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

She was instrumental in facilitating SFA’s strong field-based teacher education research, managing grant funds and leading students on research excursions to different parts of the U.S. to further their expertise as educators. She also found time to assist Leon in facilitating SFA’s exchange student program, traveling to Japan three times. She served as the Associate Dean of Education for eight years, as Dean for three years and, after approximately 60 published academic and non-fiction works and 36 years of service to SFA, she retired with Leon in 2005. But for Dr. Patsy Hallman, retirement marked anything but a conclusion in her life.

Besides enjoying time with her family, Patsy continues her community involvement by working with several organizations. She chairs the evangelism committee of First United Methodist Church and is on the board of the AgriLife Extension Service. Patsy leads workshops for various organizations including the Christian Women’s Job Corp, and she is active in the local chapter of the American Association of University Women. Most of her volunteer time is devoted to her new love: Nacogdoches’ Old University Building. Patsy has researched and promoted this historical treasure, a unique feature of the rich tapestry of Nacogdoches’ heritage. In spite of her lengthy list of folklore and historical publications, Patsy says she doesn’t consider herself a writer, but a story teller, which perhaps explains her passion and drive for compiling and sharing the story of the Old University Building. She has compiled timelines, artifacts and other literature detailing the fascinating history of this community landmark. She works tirelessly to raise funds and promote its historic value to residents and tourists.

Patsy’s love and devotion to community has roots which run as deep perhaps as those of her family’s 300-year-old oak, affectionately referred to in her stories about Miller Grove as “The Big Tree.” She calls some of Nacogdoches’ most influential citizens friends, and some of Nacogdoches’ most influential citizens call her “a remarkable community leader” with “the heart of a servant” who “gives of herself beyond one’s expectations” as an “active, dedicated proponent of all issues that improve the quality of life in Nacogdoches.” Patsy suffers no shortage of commendations, but perhaps the words of Jack Ledbetter are the most telling. “Too often a lifetime is devoted to the service of others, yet the reward is often only within. This is our opportunity to say, ‘Thank you, Dr. Hallman. You have excelled and are recognized for a job well done.’”

And so, to Dr. Patsy Hallman, from your community of grateful friends, colleagues and neighbors of this generation and certainly many more to come: Thank you and congratulations, on being named Nacogdoches’ Citizen of the Year in 2009.


The chamber will honor Dr. Hallman at the 88th Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet on Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom. The event begins at 6 p.m. with a raffle and social hour. The program and dinner will begin at 7 p.m.

An event registration form is posted on or contact the chamber office, 560-5533, for tickets and table sponsorships. Contact Barbara Holl, 560-5533, to donate items for the raffle and online auction.

Other award recipients will also be recognized at the event, including Small Business of the Year, Glass Castles Stained Glass Studio & Gifts; Medium Business of the Year, Axley & Rode, LLP; and Large Business of the Year, NIBCO, Inc.
The 2009-2010 chamber board of directors will be installed at the event.

The 88th Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet committee members are Chairwoman Betty Shinn, Charlotte Ashcraft, Corey Ashley, Jan Dawley, Donna Finley, Michael Martin, Laurie McCollough, Will Scott, Scarlett Sloane and Paul Smith III.

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