By TYLER MASK
From a very young age, Palo Pinto General Hospital Education Director Mary Beth Walker, MSN, was interested in science. Having a mother who was a geologist and mathematician only fueled her passion further. In combination with a strong desire to help people, Walker chose to go into the medical field, where she has felt at home for more than 38 years.
Born and raised in Southern California, Walker recalls growing up in “hippyville.” During her early childhood, Walker had friends with older siblings who would drag Walker around to various “hip” events.
“I was born a ‘valley girl,’ and grew up in the ‘OC,’” Walker said comically. “We got to do and see all kinds of things that little kids might not have gotten to do if they didn’t have older siblings, like Beatlemania. I was going into the first grade when that was going on, but my best friend’s sister was five years older than us, so she was a teenager. Her mother was from England. We’d go to school, and no one would know what we were talking about.”
Once Walker was ready to go to college, she picked up the torch and headed to Texas Christian University. Walker was a “legacy child,” following in the footsteps of her grandfather, who founded the physics department, and her mother, who studied at TCU.
While at TCU, Walker met her husband, a seminary student, Jimmy Walker, who eventually led to her planting roots in Mineral Wells.
“I married a boy with Palo Pinto dirt under his fingernails,” Walker said. “He grew up here in a ranching family. He grew up here, went to high school, left to go to college and was happy when we were able to come back and be close to his grandmother. And our kids were teenagers, and we wanted a little more control over the environment.”