MARGARET PARX HAYS
Margaret Parx Hays, 95, passed away on May 8, 2008, at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Margaret was born in Gainesville on November 3, 1912, the daughter of Parx Orr and Ianna (Jones) Hays. Margaret graduated from Newsome Dougherty Memorial High School in 1929; Gainesville Junior College in 1930; and North Texas State Teachers College in 1931. She later received an M.A. in education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
After graduating from North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas), Margaret worked at the college for eleven years. Then after a short stint with the Civil Service, she accepted an offer from the State Department as a Foreign Service Clerk.
Margaret’s first overseas appointment from 1943-45 was in Buenos, Aires, Argentina, where she first did cryptography and then transferred to the political section. During the next two years, she served as vice-consul in Bogota, followed by a two-year appointment to Rio de Janeiro.
In Manila from 1956-58, Margaret held the position of Consul. Additionally, she took the foreign-service exam and achieved the position of Foreign Service Officer in 1955. By that point, she had made it an annual tradition while overseas to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal for invited guests. In 1954, she asked the USO to bring four sailors as guests and unexpectedly had a Gainesville native among them.
She also served in Mexico City; Washington, D.C., where her love of and interest in historic preservation developed, and in her favorite location, Hong Kong.
After retiring from the Foreign Service, Margaret returned to Gainesville where she pursued her interest in historic preservation by becoming involved in the effort to save the 1884 former city hall-fire station-jail from destruction. She said it sounded “like a good fight”. That effort proved successful and the Morton Museum of Cooke County opened in that location. Margaret remained involved with the museum for decades, serving as a member of the staff, as a volunteer, and on the Board of Directors. The Margaret Parx Hays library inside the museum is dedicated to her.
MARGARET PARX HAYS
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