Mr. John M. Tidwell

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John Morgan Tidwell was a Roanoke resident and long-time Northwest ISD supporter, serving on the NISD Board of Trustees for nine years. He was known for his passion for Northwest ISD and was active in the Roanoke community.

Born September 30, 1911 in southern Denton County, John Tidwell attended school at Elizabethtown (nicknamed Bugtown), which was located near the current Texas Motor Speedway. As a young teenager, he moved with his family to Roanoke where they continued farming. After graduating from Roanoke High School, he raised wheat and cotton on the 400-acre family farm.

“Toots” – as he was known to family and friends – married the former Rosetta Polley in 1934 in Grapevine. They moved to “the farm across the fence,” where he continued to farm and also cut hair for neighbors for free – a practice he had begun at home years earlier.

In 1936 he decided to make a career of his barbering and went to Fort Worth for six months to attend barber school and returned to cut hair in Justin. Drafted into the U.S. Navy during World War II, he continued cutting hair during the 21 months of service at a stateside base in San Diego, California. Following the war, he opened Tidwell’s Barbershop in downtown Roanoke. He continued cutting hair at this location until 1964. During this time, he would often work 16 hour days and travel around the countryside on Sundays cutting hair for shut-ins.

His barber shop was the site of many, many lively conversations among the locals and those passing through Roanoke. In 1960, a very young Edward “Ted” Kennedy came through town on the campaign trail for his brother, and the county officials in his traveling party directed him to Tidwell’s barber shop. Consequently, “Toots” told the story for years of a very charismatic future U.S. senator who “hopped up on the hood of a car and delivered a powerful speech for his brother – right there in front of the barber shop in downtown Roanoke!”

In 1964, “Toots” was appointed U.S. Postmaster in Roanoke and held that position until his retirement in 1983. During these years, he carefully and tediously watched over his post office as he faithfully performed his duties.

Following his retirement from the post office, “Toots” decided to run for mayor of Roanoke in 1985. He served two terms at this position and was instrumental in preparing Roanoke for its current growth.

John M. Tidwell served in many public roles during his lifetime, including the following:

  • Trustee of the former Roanoke School Board
  • City Council Member of Roanoke
  • Board of Directors, Northwest Bank in Roanoke

John believed it a great privilege to be a citizen of the United States of America and took his civic duties very seriously. Somewhat unique for his generation, he welcomed the economic growth and changes in and around the Roanoke area. He believed that only great things could come with more businesses bringing more jobs and opportunities.

John Tidwell was also a great believer in education and encouraged all who would listen to obtain as much education as possible. His passion for education was passed on through his family. His family members graduating from Northwest ISD include three children, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Three great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren are currently enrolled in Northwest ISD schools. Two granddaughters teach for NISD, and another granddaughter teaches in Van Alstyne ISD.

John M. Tidwell was a diligent worker throughout his 88 years of life. He worked hard for his family, community, and country. He believed that honesty and hard work were of the utmost importance. In 1990 he addressed a class of high school seniors, and one of the students asked him what he would title a book if he were to write one. His response came quickly: “Just be Honest.” There are no other words that could better describe John M. “Toots” Tidwell.