Ann Margaret (Smith) Coody

B.A. 1959

Ann Margaret (Smith) Coody was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 12, 1937. Her father’s United States Air Force career took the family to New Braunfels and San Antonio, Texas, where she graduated from Alamo Heights High School in 1955. After graduation, she enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University, but went with her family following her freshman year to Tachikawa Air Force Base, near Tokyo, Japan. After a year there, she returned to Hardin-Simmons, where she graduated in August 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech with a minor in English.

As a student at Hardin-Simmons, Ann was a member of the Baptist Student Union Greater Council, the Life Service Band, Pi Kappa Delta, and served as Student Education Assistant. She was a member of the Speech and Drama Club and was vice president of the University Players her senior year.

During the summer of 1958, she was a summer missionary in Hilo, Hawaii. Ann also served on the South Hall Dorm Council as secretary in 1958 and as junior representative in 1959, and was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities that same year.

On August 8, 1959, Ann married Dale Coody, who earned the Bachelor of Science degree from HSU in 1959. Ann served with Dale as he led Southern Baptist churches in Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaii, as music and education director. They have also served as evangelistic singers in revivals and concerts in Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and throughout the mid-west and southern states.

In 1960, Ann and Dale welcomed their son Jeff, and in 1962, their daughter Nina was born.

Ann began her career in education in 1961, teaching in Seagraves, Refugio, and Woodsboro, Texas, before the young family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she taught at Berryhill School. They later moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, where Ann was a teacher, counselor, and assistant principal for the Lawton Public Schools.

While in Lawton, Ann earned a Master of Education degree in guidance counseling and a principal and superintendent certification from the University of Oklahoma. Ann retired as principal of Lawton MacArthur High School in June 2000, after 39 years as an educator.

Elected to her first term in 2004, Ann is now beginning her fifth term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from District 64, Lawton, Oklahoma. She is chair of the Common Education Committee and a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committee, the Appropriations and Budget Education Subcommittee, and the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

She was appointed by the Speaker of the House as a commissioner to the Education Commission of the States, as a member of the Education Oversight Board, the Achieving Classroom Excellence Steering Committee, and the Oklahoma State Council for Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Ann served as majority caucus secretary in 2007-2008, is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, and serves various national legislative groups.

Among Ann’s many honors, she was named Representative of the Year by the Oklahoma Veterans Council in 2007-2008 and again in 2012. She received the Veteran’s Hero Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2008 and the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education. The Oklahoma Council of Economic Education awarded her the Friend of Economic Education Award in 2008, and in 2009, she was awarded the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Meritorious Service Award, and the Southwest Oklahoma Partnership for Mental Health Award. In 2011, she received the Americans United for Life Award.

Ann further serves the community as a member of the Comanche County Retired Educators Association and the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association.

Ann and Dale are members of First Baptist Church of Grandfield, Oklahoma, and live on a farm east of Lawton, where Dale is also a rancher, having raised dairy cattle, beef cattle, ostriches, giraffes, antelope, alligators, and other exotic animals. He currently raises Savanna goats.

Their daughter, Nina, who attended Hardin-Simmons from 1980 to 1982, is an intermediate school principal in Boyd, Texas. Their son, Jeff, who completed the Bachelor of Business Administration degree at HSU in 1982, is an insurance agent in Lawton and former U.S. Navy pilot. Ann and Dale have three grandchildren.

It is the high honor of Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Ann Margaret (Smith) Coody into the HSU Hall of Leaders.