Beck and Hunt

The library in my town is officially named the Eula Hunt Beck Florence Public Library. While I have reservations about the SEO confusion (Eula and Florence are both traditional female names, while Hunt and Beck are verbs) the name was intended to honor “Sis” Beck, the reigning matriarch of our town’s banking dynasty. She has made many notable contributions to this whole region of Texas, and has probably done twice as much anonymously. Plus, she’s always been nice to me.

A woman came into the Eula Hunt Beck Florence Public Library today brandishing this book. It’s a well-loved 1980 custom publication of local history printed by Nortex Press in Burnet, Texas. (!) Nortex Press was part of Eakin Press, which has since been acquired by Wild Horse Media Group in Fort Worth, which is doing some interesting stuff…but once upon a time, they were publishing books in Burnet friggin’ Texas!

I can’t be the only one who looked at that cover and thought Willie Zell Ray Hunt must have been a warlock. 1768-1980?!? Dude was 212 years old! Alas, it’s just the time period researched in the book (which kind of looks like an old hymnal, no?).

Willie Zell Ray Hunt was actually a woman, and, according to her obituary, a midwife. Though not quite 212 when she died, she did live an impressive 94 years and published a book at the age of 77. She is buried in Maxdale Cemetery and was survived by two daughters, one of whom is Eula Lea “Sis” Hunt Beck.

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