Weeks Campus Center at Seminary of the Southwest
Mary Emeny grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but with strong roots and many visits to the Amarillo area where her grandfather first arrived in 1880. The Frying Pan Ranch, which he bought on behalf of his father-in-law, is still in the family with Mary overseeing her family’s half of the original ranch.
She received a BA from Connecticut College and a Master’s in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, spent two years doing community development in Tanzania under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee and close to a year in Viet Nam, much of the time living in a Buddhist orphanage in DaNang, getting food to refugee camps and setting up milk programs in day care centers and orphanages. For 9 months in she worked with the fledgling organization started by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh in France.
In 1978 she and her husband Dr. Hunter Ingalls moved to Amarillo, and over the next several years had three children, started an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity in Amarillo and became involved in experiments in living sustainably on the Texas high plains, including building what was believed to be the first free standing adobe dome in the US, and retrofitting an open shed barn into a straw bale residence.
In 1992 she turned a section of the Frying Pan Ranch near Amarillo into Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Over the years she has served on the board of many organizations and helped organize or re-organize several of them – including Amarillo Habitat for Humanity, The Don Harrington Discovery Center, the Globe News Center for the Performing Arts and its education program Window on a Wider World, and Panhandle Promise Project, which works with children whose parents are incarcerated. She has received several awards, the highest being named Woman of the Year by the Amarillo Globe News in 2001.
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