George Marshall Parkhouse, Texas state legislator, was born in Cisco, Texas, on May 13, 1900. He was the son of George T. and Emma (Todd) Parkhouse. He was the younger brother to sisters Maggie and Mabel. In 1910, shortly after a drought caused the father, a cotton gin operator, to go out of business, the Parkhouse family relocated to Dallas, Texas. In a childhood accident involving a firecracker, Parkhouse lost his left arm and left leg. Despite having suffered a severe injury, he, while a student at the Bryan Street High School in Dallas, became the manager of the football team and a cheerleader.
On July 8, 1923, in Weatherford, Texas, Parkhouse married Waxahachie-born Dora Faye Williams. They had two sons—Jack Ray and Jerry Wayne.
Parkhouse began his career in public service as an assistant reading clerk in the House of the Forty-second Texas Legislature in 1931. Not long thereafter, in 1932, Parkhouse was elected to the House. In 1933 he served on a number of committees, including Banks and Banking, Book of Texas Company, Engrossed Bills, and Public Printing. Soon after the Forty-third legislature adjourned, Parkhouse entered the advertising field full-time and obtained a position with the Dallas-based Middleton Company. He held an executive position in that company until his death in 1967.
In 1942 Parkhouse re-entered the political arena when he was elected as a representative from District 50-4 (Dallas County) to the Texas House. He remained a member of the House until January 1951. During this time, Parkhouse quickly established himself as a member who could be relied upon to sit on any number of committees. He served multiple terms on the Labor Committee and was recognized as an author of the controversial Texas right-to-work law in 1947.
Parkhouse’s House tenure came to an end in 1951 after he successfully sought election to the Texas Senate. He was the senator from Dallas County from 1951 to 1967. Parkhouse had a lifetime interest, possibly stemming from his father’s losing the family business due to drought years earlier, in water conservation. As chairman of the Water and Conservation Committee for many years, he steered much of the major water legislation that passed the Texas legislature during the mid-twentieth century (see WATER LAW). Senator Parkhouse also influenced insurance legislation, the Employees Retirement System, the Minimum Foundation Program for higher education and graduate schools, legislation for blind and mentally-handicapped children, and laws for mental health programs.
During the Fifty-sixth legislature in 1959, Parkhouse held the position of president pro tempore of the Senate. With the absence of both the governor and the lieutenant governor, on April 13, 1959, Parkhouse was elevated to the officer of governor of Texas for a day. His contribution to Texas politics did not go unrecognized by his colleagues. This point was exemplified on May 13, 1953, and again on that date in 1963, when the Texas Senate passed a resolution in recognition of Parkhouse’s birthday. In 1965 the Texas Water Conservation Association recognized his water legislation efforts and honored him with the “Man of the Year” award.
Parkhouse announced that he was serving his last term in the Texas Senate in 1967. He died at the age of sixty-seven at his Dallas home on August 24, 1967. The senator, after suffering a series of strokes at is home earlier that week, lapsed into a coma and died in his sleep. Parkhouse was described by Lieutenant Governor Preston Smith as “more of an institution than a man.” George Parkhouse’s gravestone can be found at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas County.