In Memoriam – Pauline Mills Edwards Delaney
Pauline Delaney, known to many of us as Polly, died Friday, January 27th at the age of 96. Polly was a charter member of Emerson and a second generation Unitarian Universalist. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 17, 1920. Her father, an independent oil man, moved the family to Houston, Texas in the early 1930s.
Pauline attended Sidney Lanier Junior High where an essay she wrote for San Jacinto Day won a gold medal from the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1936. When Lamar High School opened, she became the first editor of the school paper, the Lamar Lancer. She graduated from Oklahoma A&M college (now OSU) in 1942 where she studied journalism, worked for a local paper, and was a feature editor of the college newspaper. She married her sweetheart Mac Edwards on the same day that she graduated. She often said she got “two bachelors in one day.” The couple lived first in Peoria, Illinois where Polly did a short stint as a reporter for the Peoria Star. When WWII ended, they moved to Houston where Pauline worked as a reporter for the Houston Press and other local publications, including as editors of the First Unitarian Church newsletter and the Emerson newsletter. Pauline and Mac had two children – Beverly and William. (Beverly and her husband Bob are members of Emerson. )
When the children were adolescents, Mac’s work with CAMCO took the family to Belfast, Northern Ireland for six years. Upon returning to the States, they took up residence at Cherry Springs Ranch in Spicewood Texas which they had purchased shortly before the assignment to Belfast. In Spicewood, Pauline worked as a feature reporter for the Highlander. In the early 1970s she became involved with organizing against the ill-fated Project Sanguine. Polly’s husband Mac died of cancer in 1976.
In 1977 and 1979 Polly served as the Bill Clerk for the Texas State Senate and in 1980 she enrolled in the UT LBJ School of Public Affairs. After earning her Master’s, she married Andrew Delaney (another charter member of Emerson) and returned to Houston. Over the past 30 years she published various poems and feature articles in the Houston Post, Houston Chronicle and the Texas Poetry Calendar among others. She traveled extensively and enjoyed participation in the Houston Writers Workshop. She also authored a family history titled Wearing Genes.
Polly had a lifelong love of poetry, journalism, politics, travel, fishing, and, later in life, bird watching. Polly loved to spin tales of family ancestors and the people she had met in her travels. Polly called herself a “born liar” and often embellished her stories to her audience’s delight.
Until her health precluded it she was at Emerson most Sunday mornings. Even after she required the assistance of her son-in-law Bob, when asked how she was, she would always respond, “Doing dandy, darling.” Her sparkling eyes, marvelous grin, and her ability to weave a spellbinding tale will be sorely missed.