Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Frances Goodhue Loder, a distinguished teacher, director, and actor, died at her home in Austin on January 26, 2000. She joined the faculty of the Department of Drama, as it was then called, in January 1961 as a visiting assistant professor of acting. She continued to teach in the acting program until her retirement in June 1975.

Born in White Cloud, Minnesota, on September 18, 1904, the youngest of four daughters of George and Nellie Goodhue, she attended schools in Chicago and Goodland, Kansas, graduating from Sherman County High School in Goodland in June 1923. During high school, she developed a love of speech and theatre which led her to matriculate in the School of Speech at Northwestern University in September 1923. She studied under the renowned Dean Dennis and other mentors, receiving from them numerous scholarships and awards for her work. In 1925, she won first prize in the Pi Kappa Delta National Oratorical Contest, the first of several prizes she would win for excellence in her art. She graduated from Northwestern with a BL degree in June 1927. After graduation, Professor Loder taught as an adjunct professor of drama at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Because of her ability to inspire, many church, civic, and fraternal groups in and around Lincoln, Nebraska, often invited her to give interpretive readings of poetry and other genres.

While in Lincoln, she met and fell in love with James Edwin Loder, then a high school principal in distant western Nebraska, and later an insurance company executive. Their commuter courtship culminated in marriage on December 23, 1930, by which time Frances was acting head of the drama department at NWU. During the following spring, a company of her students won the National College Theatre Tournament at Northwestern University. At the end of the 1930-31 school year, she resigned from NWU and became a full-time housewife and, from December 5, 1931, a mother. On that date, a son, James Edwin Loder, Jr. arrived, followed, on June 23, 1940, by a daughter, Kathryn Rockwood Loder. Absorbed in raising her family, she still managed to accept invitations to perform her inspirational readings. In 1953, the family moved to Austin when Mr. Loder became an executive with Farmers Insurance Company. Shortly thereafter, he fell ill with cancer and died in 1955, leaving Professor Loder and her children bereft of husband and father.

After a break of over 25 years, Frances resumed teaching in 1957 at Western Michigan University as an instructor of directing and oral interpretation. From 1958 to 1960, she taught communications at Southern Illinois University. Desiring to refresh and improve her skills, she attended New York University during the summers from 1958 until 1960, receiving an MA in theatre education. Professor Loder then approached Dr. Loren Winship, chairman of the drama department at The University of Texas at Austin, seeking a teaching position. Having come from Nebraska himself and knowing of Frances's talent and competence, he offered her a visiting professorship. During her years at the University, Professor Loder taught classes in acting, voice, and diction, while directing student scenes for the weekly Demonstration Laboratory, or Dem Lab, as it was known. She also tutored students in oral interpretation and acting while contributing enthusiastically to the department’s production program. In 1963, she received the Texas Excellence Teaching Award.

Professor Loder was promoted to associate professor in 1971, and she retired in 1975. Shortly thereafter, her daughter, Kay, died of complications with diabetes. Professor Loder had left Texas to be closer to her, but after Kay's death Frances returned to Austin to find solace in its happy associations and with her many friends.

She was a member of the American Association of Speech Teachers and the American Association of University Women. She was elected to membership in three academic honor societies: Pi Kappa Delta, Theta Alpha Phi, and Phi Mu Gamma. Few faculty members enjoyed the devotion and loyalty from students that she did; she remained a close friend to many of her former students, giving them aid and support in the early stages of their careers in New York and Los Angeles, and often exchanging visits with them. A woman of dignity and grace, she was a model for actors and taught her students by example as well as by lecture.

Professor Loder rejoiced in the high regard of all who knew and worked with her; she leaves a warm memory of professional excellence and personal friendship. Those who had the privilege and honor to work with her will miss her spirited and engaging love of the theatre, especially of actors and acting.

She is survived by her son, James Edwin Loder, Jr., and his wife, Arlene; their daughters, Kim Engelmann and Tamara Jo Tiss; and three great-grandchildren, Christopher, Julie, and Jonathan Engelmann.


Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors John W. Brokaw (chair), David A. Nancarrow, and Coleman A. Jennings.