Oilman Stephen Gose ’50 Recalls the Can-Do Spirit of the Kappa Sigs
“Life’s been good and, for me, it all goes back to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity,” said Stephen Mathus Gose, reflecting on his UT days in the early 1950s. Coming of age in the post-World War II era, Gose was inspired by the spirit of optimism shared by so many Americans at that time, the desire as he described it “to really be somebody and get things done.” He said he found that “let’s get it done” attitude when he was rushed by the Kappa Sigs and decided that’s where he needed to be.
“The Kappa Sigs I knew were real ‘doers’ and sometimes we did too much and got in a little trouble,” said Gose, recalling incidents that prompted visits from two notable Kappa Sigma Tau alumni, Texas Governor Beauford H. Jester and alumnus advisor Frank Erwin, Jr. “We got some pretty good lectures when we needed straightening out. They also saved our hides a time or two.”
Born and raised in Wichita Falls, the son and grandson of oilmen, Gose, now age 85, said he chose his career path when he was about 10 years old. “I knew then I was going to be in the oil business,” said Gose. After studying economics and geology at UT, Gose would realize his dream to become an oilman through the development of private oil and gas exploration companies based in Wichita Falls, San Antonio and Montana. He still enjoys his life’s work today.
Gose met his wife, Marty, through her older brother, Tommy Hastey, also a Kappa Sig, who set them up on a blind date 64 years ago. “We met in April, got engaged in June, and married in October,” said Gose. “We’ve lived a great life together. She’s a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and now a great-grandmother. We’ve got six great-grandkids and still have a lot of fun together, so we’re blessed that way.”
One of his sons, Matt, is a Tau legacy. Gose said he was happy and proud when Matt pledged Kappa Sig, and enjoyed visiting the house at 203 West 19th Street and reliving cherished Kappa Sig memories with his son.
A horse enthusiast all of his life, Gose became a champion polo player in the 70s, playing on U.S. Open Polo Championship teams in 1977, 1979, and 1982 and winning two Gold Cups and three Silver Cups along the way. He created the Retama Polo Center, the largest polo facility in the world, with 16 fields on 600 acres and stables for 400 horses. Retama has hosted the Cup of the Americas and several U.S. Open Championships. In 1997, Gose was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame
His boyhood dreams in West Texas took him from oil fields in America to polo playing fields around the world, but his friendships with his Tau brothers have always been an important part of his life. Many have passed away, such as John Allen Ward ’48, Jack Currie ’48 and Stuart Templeton ’50, but he’s still close to a remaining few, including Bob Foree ’49, Duer Wagner ’48, Lorenzo Taylor ’48, Jimmy Dyer ’47, Howard Rose ’50, Cecil Rhodes ’50 and Bobby Joe Hewitt ’50, and “lots of good buddies too numerous to name here.” “You don’t just find friendships like ours,” said Gose. “These friendships were made – at the University of Texas and the Kappa Sig Fraternity.”
Gose said it’s important to him to give back to his fraternity and is excited about the construction of the new Residence Hall for the Tau Chapter. Recalling how much he enjoyed living in the Kappa Sig house his last year at UT, Gose said “I felt sorry for those who were not in a fraternity or sorority. I felt like it was sort of a ‘roosting place’ – a place to make really good friends.”
He encourages his Tau brothers to join him in helping fund the new Residence Hall. “If you’re doing OK, you need to help keep up what you were a part of, and take care of those that helped you along the way,” said Gose. “That’s why I’ve felt honor-bound to the Kappa Sig Fraternity, and it’s been a great thing to be involved, stay involved – and to support it.”
The Kappa Sigs have always been can-do guys with a “let’s get it done” spirit, so let’s carry that spirit forward with the new Residence Hall.