Nancy Paxton Moody of Austin passed away on Jan. 3, 2013, after a prolonged illness.|
Nancy was the second child and only daughter of Texas Gov. Dan Moody and his wife, Mildred Paxton Moody. She was born in 1932, shortly after her family moved out of the Governor's Mansion. Nancy grew up in Austin's Old Enfield neighborhood and attended Pease Elementary, University Junior High, and Austin High School.
As a young girl, Nancy adored animals and her lifelong love of horses began in childhood. She enjoyed sports, especially water sports, and spent many hours on a high diving board at Deep Eddy. Nancy loved to compete, and her favorite prayer was The Prayer of a Sportsman. She made lifelong friends during her summers at Camp Mystic.
In 1950, Nancy graduated from Austin High School and went to the University of Texas, where she was a math major and a very active member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Her love of UT football outlasted college and she attended UT football games as long as she was able to.
At UT, Nancy was a Phi Beta Kappa, and after graduation she attended UT Law School. She often said that her father never thought much of female lawyers until she became one. After graduating from law school she became parliamentarian of the Texas Senate in 1961.
During her time with the Legislature, Nancy was married to Sen. Hubert Hudson of Brownsville. Nancy enjoyed living in the Rio Grande Valley when the Legislature was not in session, and cherished her relationships with her two stepchildren, Sally and Billy.
In the mid-1960's Nancy returned to Austin and re-entered the equestrian world with renewed vigor. She traveled to many horse shows, often bringing home blue first-place ribbons. She won the Texas Amateur Hunter Championship with her horse Linebacker for several years in a row in the late 1960's.
Nancy combined her love of horses with her love of the law in her work with the Texas Hunter & Jumper Association. She rewrote the rules for horse shows in Texas, and much of the current rule book of the Texas Hunter & Jumper Association still reflects her work. She also served as president of the organization for eight years.
As a board member of the American Horse Show Association (now the United States Equestrian Federation), Nancy advocated for Texas equestrians. Her effectiveness as a public speaker and as a quiet negotiator helped elevate the state's prominence in equestrian sport.
Through her work with the Texas Hunter & Jumper Association, Nancy became good friends with Jim Leech. Nancy and Jim were married in the spring of 1974, and Nancy stayed close to Jim's daughters Moira and Melissa throughout her life. Moira was like a daughter to Nancy. Nancy also cherished her nephew, Charles, and her niece, Martha, and passed on her love of horses to both Moira and Martha.
During the 1980's and 1990's Nancy traveled extensively. She helped finance the U.S. equestrian teams in the Olympics, and attended the Summer Games at least four times.
Nancy also loved to visit London with her good friend Harriet Rutland. She enjoyed learning about British history, particularly that which concerned the British royal family.
Nancy was preceded in death by her father, Dan Moody, her mother, Mildred Paxton Moody, and her brother, Dan Moody, Jr. She is survived by her family: Charles Daniel Moody, Martha Moody DeGrasse, Moira Leech James, Ann Moody, Kirsten Moody, Donald DeGrasse, Daniel DeGrasse, Andrew DeGrasse, Sarah DeGrasse, Rick James, Will James, Jack James, Melissa Leech, Bill Hudson and Sally Hudson Krueger.
The family is deeply grateful to the many wonderful caregivers who helped Nancy during her long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations be made to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation, One Intrepid Square, West 46th St. & 12th Ave.
New York, NY 10036.
A memorial service for Nancy will be held Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas 78731.
Published in Brownsville Herald on Jan. 6, 2013