From an early age, Margaret Welty was seasoned by hardships of a kind mostly foreign to more modern-day individuals. She used those difficulties to develop understanding and compassion. So, for her former students and friends who loved her, here is some of what life held for her.
Her grandfather was brutalized and killed by Indians within sight of his young family in their cabin 41 years before her birth, as documented in at least two old books.
Born in the Territory of New Mexico, she took on motherly duties to her siblings, some of whom were her seniors, at a very early age. She described rescuing them from an aunt's house during a terrible thunderstorm, forging a wide river with them only moments before huge flood waters washed down the river, and completing their journey home though barbed wire fences while lightening struck every few seconds.
While all were still tots, her mother gathered what few belongings they had and took off for Texas. Their "homes" in N. M. and Texas ranged from a dirt floor, one-room affair, to an old rundown place with windows lacking glass throughout. Their mother soon became ill and passed away while the kids were still young. Margaret and her siblings were taken in by various families in Uvalde. From their sadness at being split up, they soon took on great love and appreciation for their benefactors.
All these kids went on to make something of themselves. Three of the girls became teachers. Mabel Welty Kincaid was Margaret's local sister who also taught in Uvalde for many years. All but one of their six siblings remained in Texas for the rest of their lives. They all remained close to one another and were very proud of each other.
"Miss Margaret" began her teaching career in Uvalde at age 19. She had earlier attended San Marcos College with Lyndon Johnson. A picture of Miss Margaret and one of her earliest classes, taken at the school on the s/e corner of Oak and Getty, is in the family album.
Margaret continued teaching, marrying Sam Nave in 1928. There were some years when their family came along that she substitute taught, but that was always very close to full-time. In 1949, she lost her husband and had to attend quite a bit of college to complete a degree that had not been required before. For two years she taught in Knippa, while traveling to San Marcos on weekends, and all of both summers. Kinfolks pitched in to help with dire finances and weekend and summer childcare for Janeen, Sam and Ray.
In the 1950's, there was a marriage, which shortly became annulled, to a fine Uvalde gentleman, Clay Robey. Although Margaret took back her Nave name, some students may have known her as Mrs. Robey.
She taught many students, and truly loved them all, and followed their successes throughout the years. For many years, former students paid her visits at home. Of so many who held her in high esteem, one was Governor Dolph Briscoe. Former Texas Supreme Court Judge Ross Doughty was like a sibling to her. She taught several generations of Uvalde families, one bearing the Garner name. At John Nance Garner's 90th birthday bash, with the highest of dignitaries present, she was spotted and invited into the main house when the festivities turned indoors. And, at the State Capitol in Austin, Gov. Briscoe sat her down in the Governor's chair, to her great pride!
Her youngest, Ray, took greater belief in miracles when his mom finally agreed to be moved to California for her last years. She did NOT want to leave Uvalde and all her many friends! She took the move like a trooper, however, forever smiling, especially in the picture with George Burns! (Never mind that it was a wax figure!)
She passed away in California in 1996 and was buried in the old Uvalde Cemetery, west Hwy. 90, beside her beloved husband, Sam, who preceded her in death by nearly 48 years.
She would have been very proud to be pictured here beside these other fine teachers whom she loved so much. She and Wave Thompson, a 1st grade teacher, were especially close, since Margaret taught 4th grade for many years.
Appreciative former students continue to go out of their way to say thanks by visiting and contacting her kids with tributes. The Leader News published a nice lengthy article upon her passing that is available to anyone wishing it. Her son, Ray, would welcome requests/contacts, at: Navefmly@aol.com