Mary C. Crowley (1915-1986)
Thousands of lives have been changed through the wisdom and guidance shared by Mary C. Crowley, founder of Home Interiors and Gifts, Inc. Her life's mission was to honor God and bless and serve others.
Mary C. Crowley was born in 1915 and grew up in the state of Missouri. Years later, Mary overcame tremendous obstacles as a young mother by moving to Dallas during the depression with her two small children, Don and Ruth.
With the determination to create a better life for herself and her family, Mary spent her days working and her evenings attending classes at Southern Methodist University. With her incredible vision, leadership qualities and sheer tenacity, Mary started Home Interiors and Gifts in 1957, which grew to become a multi-million dollar corporation.
In 1957, Mary was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Mary located John T. Mallams, a well known physician and pioneer in radiation oncology. He treated her with an investigational drug and Mary, with her positive attitude, was on the road to recovery in no time. Mary was in remission for almost 27 years when her cancer was discovered to have recurred. Learning to her consternation that little progress had been made, Mary decided to effect a fundamental change in cancer treatment development and patient access. As a result, the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit center, was established in 1992, that would expand treatment options for all cancer patients through the exploration of investigational gene and cellular therapies. The Cancer Research Centers that Mary Crowley created are an enduring tribute of the woman whose unshakable faith in God kept her invested in the lives of others.
Over the span of her life, she traveled across the nation training and counseling women on how to be independent Christian Women. Throughout her life she also served on many boards including the American Cancer Society, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, The Salvation Army Advisory Board and the American Red Cross.
She also served as the first woman on the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. A great friend of Mary's, Ruth Graham said that Mary's greatest joy in accumulating wealth was not to keep, but to share with others, which resonates to this day as Mary C. Crowley's legacy.