The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now


Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Muzzy, Mary Sue Blair Hairgrove (1922–2013)

Claire E. Dobbs Biography Entry

Mary Sue Blair Hairgrove Muzzy, Texas state legislator, daughter of John E. Blair and Mable Sue (Gibbs) Blair, was born in Argyle, Texas, on October 1, 1922. The youngest of four children, she grew up on her family's farm near Justin, Texas. After graduating from Justin High School in 1940, Mary Sue Blair moved to Dallas to attend Draughan's Business College where she met her first husband James Albert “Jim” Hairgrove. The couple married in Rockwall, Texas, on October 7, 1941. Jim Hairgrove served in the U. S. Navy during World War II, and, after his return,  the couple lived in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before moving to Rosenberg, Texas, where they managed the radio station KFRD. The couple had two children, Anita Hairgrove Schofe and Robert Dale Hairgrove; they raised their children in Lake Jackson where the family owned and operated two local radio stations, KBRZ and KLJT-FM.

In January 1966 Jim Hairgrove, known for his civic engagement, announced his candidacy for a seat in the Texas House of Representative from the newly-created District 20F, which encompassed both Brazoria and Fort Bend counties. He defeated Sam Plummer of Angleton in the Democratic primary by a margin of 8,881 to 4,928, and faced no opponent in the general election. Jim Hairgrove's time in the legislature was cut short, however, when he died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Austin on April 12, 1967, just three months into the regular session of the Sixtieth Texas Legislature. Despite her lack of experience in state politics, Sue Hairgrove filed with the local Democratic party as a candidate for her husband’s vacant seat on April 20, 1967. Hairgrove told the Brazosport Facts that she agreed with her husband's legislative objectives, and she believed this election was her chance to fulfill them, though she said her campaign would not be ”political" in nature. Four other candidates ran in the election, but Hairgrove won decisively with more than 61 percent of the total vote.  

After a special election called by Governor John Connally, Hairgrove was elected and sworn in by the speaker of the House on June 2. She was the only female member of the House. During her brief service she supported a bill to increase the state sales tax in some cases from 2 to 3 percent and a bill to prohibit the carrying of weapons in any premises selling alcoholic beverages, both of which were signed into law. She did not introduce any legislation during the session, but she was appointed to the Committee to Notify the Senate that the House was Ready to Adjourn. With gratitude for her service, the House honored her in a resolution which expressed the members’ "appreciation to the Honorable Sue Hairgrove for her outstanding service during the session and for the wit, charm, and courtesy with which she has conducted herself as the only woman member of the House."

On February 6, 1968, the Brazosport Facts announced that Hairgrove would not seek a seat in the Sixty-first Texas Legislature. Hairgrove told the paper that continuing a career in politics would require a significant amount of learning, something that she could not currently take on in addition to taking care of her family and owning and operating two radio stations. She went on to serve as the director of hospital development at the Community Hospital of Brazosport, and she served on the Brazosport Chamber of Commerce board of directors where she was the only female member and vice president of public affairs. In recognition of her service and achievements, the Brazosport Chamber of Commerce selected Hairgrove as woman of the year for 1969. Hairgrove also worked as a consultant to organizations that include: the Texas Gulf Coast Parks and Historical Restoration, the Family Service Center, and the Dow and Lake Jackson Beautification committees. She was a member of the Bay Area Heart Association, even taking on the role of county chairman for their “1969” event, and she served on the Tuberculosis Advisory Board for Brazoria County.

On January 6, 1970, Hairgrove announced her campaign for Texas House District 19 against incumbent Representative Neil Caldwell to represent Brazoria County in the Sixty-second legislature. This time Hairgrove conducted a more intentional campaign than she did in 1968 and ran a series of ads in the Brazosport Facts framing herself as the "serious candidate" in the race. She was unsuccessful, however, and Caldwell won both the primary and the seat. After the election, Hairgrove married Donald R. Muzzy in Fayette County, Texas, on June 6, 1970, and moved to Brenham in Washington County. The couple had two children together, Richard H. Muzzy and Jean Muzzy Frazer. The family relocated to Washington County where Hairgrove returned to her commitment to civic service. She founded a local service club, the Washington County Blue Blazers, in November 1971, and in Brenham, Texas, she was a member of the Washington County Rotary Club. Hairgrove served on the Washington County appraisal board, the local emergency medical services advisory board, the board of the Brenham senior's center, and the board of the local Red Cross. She worked for Mike Hopkins Distributing, a local beer distributer, as the director of consumer awareness and education in Brenham for twenty years. In recognition of her service to the community, Washington County recognized her as woman of the year in 1991. Hairgrove continued to live in Brenham after the death of her second husband in 1996.

Mary Sue Blair Hairgrove Muzzy died on February 16, 2013, in her home in Brenham, Texas. Her obituary mentioned both her love of Washington County as well as her extensive contributions to the community. Hairgrove was buried at the Morton Cemetery in Richmond, Texas.

Nancy Baker Jones and Ruthe Winegarten, Capitol Women: Texas Female Legislators, 1923–1999 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000). Brazosport Facts (Freeport, Texas), February 6, 1968; October 1, 1969; January 7, 25, 1970; March 22, 1970; April 19, 1970; May 3, 1970. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Sue Hairgrove (https://lrl.texas.gov/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=5526&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=hairgrove~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed October 28, 2020. Sue B. Muzzy, Obituary, Brenham Memorial Chapel (https://www.brenhammemorialchapel.com/obituaries/sue-b-muzzy), accessed October 28, 2020.

Categories:

  • Journalism
  • Radio and Television
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • House
  • State Legislators
  • Sixtieth Legislature (1967-1968)
  • Women

Time Periods:

  • Texas Post World War II

Places:

  • East Texas
  • Upper Gulf Coast

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Claire E. Dobbs, “Muzzy, Mary Sue Blair Hairgrove,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 04, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/muzzy-mary-sue-blair-hairgrove.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

Loading