Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

Today the Museum of Natural History draws more visitors than any other in the state system. From its start, Mary Gavin served as a trustee, and when in 1993 she retired from the board, she became the state's first-ever Trustee Emerita. In retirement she continues to lobby the legislature, sometimes past midnight, even this year. She has been active in national and international museum societies, brought a major museum convention to new Mexico, won an award as new Mexico Woman of the Year, written a book about her ranch years, and seen her name attached to a new-found fossil.

Those are some of Mary Gavin's official accomplishments. Her friends describe her in different words: "After a conversation with her, one's spirits can be lifted for days." "No family has had a more profound impact on the museum." "Magical friendship." "Truly one of New Mexico's gems." "She uses the past not as destiny, but as a platform for launching new projects." "A strength deceptive in one so elegant." "Indomitable." "When I lost my husband, Mary was the one. She sat with me the entire night."

As well as this tribute: "Mary is living testimony to staying alive as long as you live."

Story by Richard McCord


Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes