By LIBBY CLUETT
Mary Creighton is hanging up her Mineral Wells ISD "hat" – along with pen, paper and camera – after working for the district in many capacities for 39 years.
On Thursday, the district will honor the longtime teacher, administrator and public relations director with a retirement reception, 3-4:30 p.m. at the hospitality room (P-1) in Ram Stadium.
Creighton said she retired from full-time work, theoretically, in 1999. She continued as part-time PR director. She was a liaison between the district and Index and she kept staff and schools aware of goings on and coordinated the district's partners-in-education honors.
In 2001, the Index tapped Mary as “Woman of the Year,” alongside “Man of the Year” Myron Crawford.
While she wasn't working for the district, Creighton was involved with numerous organizations, including serving as: president of the Woman' Club (a role she will occupy again soon); president of Delta Kappa Gamma, Alpha Omicron Chapter; legislative chair for the local American Legion Auxiliary (beginning in July, she will be the state legislative chair); secretary of the Fort Wolters Gate Committee; and served once as chair of the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce and was president of the chamber's women's forum.
She has been a member of the Friends of the National Vietnam Museum, Phi Delta Kappa, Junior History Club and Zonta Club and is an active member of Millsap Methodist Church.
Creighton is an educator. Her undergraduate education from the University of North Texas and graduate studies and certifications from Tarleton State University were focused on this as a career goal.
But Creighton said it's time in 2013 to really retire and “refresh” (like on a computer).
“I'm beginning to think 13 has significance in my life,” she said. “I worked 13 years as PR rep, my phone extension while I was an administrator was 13, I have 13 grandchildren, I wore number 13 (and 14) while playing basketball in high school (in Alvord, Texas), and I'm retiring in 2013.”
Creighton lived in Millsap with her parents at one time, prior to moving to Mineral Wells. When she and her husband at the time, Virgil Evans, were looking for a place to live, they considered Mineral Wells. She said he was a U.S. Army Ranger in Vietnam who became an Army recruiter and was in the process of retiring.
She knew about Mineral Wells because her father worked at Southern Airways from 1959 to 1973 and would come to events at the base.
“I enjoyed coming to visit,” she said, sharing that she saw the Nike missiles and recalls helicopters hovering on pads.
“I chose to come to Mineral Wells in 1973,” she said, which was not far from Evans' family in Comanche and hers in Wise County. She said Fort Wolters had a commissary and hospital and was near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
They moved here and, Creighton recalls, “About two months later my daughter was born in Beach Army Hospital, and they announced the closing of the base. It took about a year to get it closed, but the niceties were gone.”
“I loved the proximity to the DFW area and Possum Kingdom Lake,” she said.
In 1990, she married Mineral Wells native Tom Creighton, who was retired from the Texas Senate, where he had served for 20 years.
She has three children and three stepchildren, who all attended Mineral Wells High School.
Just last month, Creighton and The Fort Wolters Gate Committee dedicated the Medal of Honor Memorial at Fort Wolters Historical Park. While Creighton majored in communications and English, she said she was always interested in history and won history awards from sixth grade on.
Each November, for the past 30 years, she has worked with veterans and the community to organize the Veteran's Day program for the entire county.
Retirement later this month will likely be just in name, rather than a state of being for Creighton, who still has many community "hats" left to wear.