Civic leader, educator wore many hats
Oscar L. Slaton Sr.
O.L. Slaton was a member of the core group of founding fathers who gave Lubbock the framework for sound development as a young city.
He wore many hats: lawyer, rancher, banker and surveyor.
He saw the need for a water supply, sewage systems and paved streets if Lubbock was to grow. At his urging the city passed approximately $750,000 worth of bond issues in successive elections to build for the future.
With the town buzzing about being in the running for a new college, he and H.T. Kimbro suggested the city do $3,000 of street improvements to the area before the college locating committee arrived.
He was also a part of the group seeking railroad service to the city. His earliest effort was to establish the Altus, Lubbock and Roswell Railway Co. Construction began in 1909 but the railway was never completed.
Slaton ultimately helped bring Denver and Burlington connections to Lubbock as well as Santa Fe. Routes were available to the north, east and west.
Though he never lived there, the city of Slaton was named for him as is O.L. Slaton Junior High.
To Mae Simmons all children were the same. She loved them as if they were her own.
At a time when color barriers were the norm, she gained respect from students and parents of all races.
“A child is a child, whatever his race or color. I love them all,” she told the A-J in a 1972 interview.
The native of Navarro graduated from high school in Wichita Falls. She earned her B.A. from Texas Southern University, her masters from Iowa and did post-graduate work at the universities of Minnesota and Colorado — all while employed by Lubbock Independent School District.
Simmons came to Lubbock in 1942 to teach at Dunbar. She then served as a teacher at Ella Iles Elementary moving up to principal. She asked to spend 1972, her last year with LISD, teaching in a second-grade classroom at Hodges Elementary because “that’s where my heart is.”
She was active in more than a dozen civic and service groups.
Mae Simmons Community Center and Mae Simmons Park are named in her honor.
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