Weldon Chambers                                                O. B. Chambers


By Candace Cooksey Fulton

Brownwood Bulletin

The 2003 Howard Payne University homecoming festivities will include the induction of the Early Independent School District's founding superintendent, the late O.B. Chambers, into the Daniel Baker College Hall of Honor.
Chambers graduated from DBC in the early 1930s and was an outstanding basketball player for the Hillbillies. His freshman year at DBC (1929) he played on the conference championship team with his first cousin, Marvin Chambers, the team's captain, and his older brother, Weldon Chambers. All three men will be inducted posthumously into the DBC Hall of Honor at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, in Constitution Hall at the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, the original DBC "Old Main" building on Austin Avenue in Brownwood. DBC was absorbed into Howard Payne in 1952 and the last DBC diploma was awarded in 1953.

Chambers came to Early to serve as its superintendent in 1937, but left in 1942 to serve for five years with the U.S. Army during World War II in Europe . He returned to the post in 1946, and stayed on as the EISD's superintendent until 1974, when he stepped down to return to teaching, still staying with the district. Chambers taught math and served for a time as the high school principal before finally retiring in 1984.

At a dedication in 1997 that created a memorial scholarship in Chambers name for Early High School students attending HPU, Early Superintendent John King said, "I doubt that there will ever be another person whose impact on Early schools will come close to that achieved by O.B. Chambers." At the time the scholarship was created, Chambers' widow, Aleta, who has since died, said, the scholarship was a way to perpetuate the memory of a man who loved education and young people. "It is my hope that this fund will grow over the years so it can be of maximum benefit to Early High School graduates attending HPU," Aleta Boland Chambers said.

Chambers' education career that began in 1932, when he served as principal and teacher at May Elementary School, spanned more than five decades. Chambers died in 1996. In a memorial to Chambers, one of his former students, Bill Shive, remembered Chambers as a man of character, dignity, class and integrity."I never saw a fellow stand so straight, carrying himself with confidence and dignity, as Mr. Chambers," Shive said.

Dr. Don Newbury, also a former student of Chambers', said he still often quotes Chambers in the speeches he makes around the country. " 'Our goal is to win modestly and lose graciously,' Mr. Chambers drilled that into us before every game and it's one of the wisest things I've ever heard anyone say," Newbury said.

The DBC Hall of Honor was established in 2002 to honor former student  athletes who have made greater contributions to society. Besides the three Chambers men, the late S.J. "Skipper" Howard, Preston Watson and Chester Tobey will be inducted into the Hall of Honor in 2003.

Chambers' son, Gary, a middle school principal in San Antonio, will accept the award for his father. Henry Chambers, of May, will accept the award for his father, Marvin Chambers, and Hoyt Byrd, a long-time educator from Austin will accept the award for his uncle, Weldon Chambers.