Pauline “Polly” Cranford Brinkley, elementary school teacher, church and community leader, passed away Tuesday, August 16, 2016 in Fort Worth.
Pauline was born February 22, 1926, near Perrin, Texas, to Lee and Pearl Gragson Cranford. After graduation from Perrin High School, she attended Weatherford College where she was elected student council vice president and senior class president, and where other girls gave her the nickname she carried the rest of her life: Polly. Her first week at Weatherford College, she met Charles Brinkley, who she married September 12, 1945, and with whom she celebrated 67 years of marriage.
After Weatherford College, Polly began teaching elementary school grades in Aledo, Texas, under a wartime emergency exemption. After the years after Weatherford College, she attended Texas Christian University accumulating the hours for her bachelor’s and master’s work.
Leaving full-time teaching before the birth of her son, Polly continued for several years to teach on a substitute basis in Weatherford and Birdville schools. Once settled in North Richland Hills, she helped her husband Charles open the Northeast National Bank and supported him in numerous ways in the growth of that and other banks that ultimately became Northeast Bancshares— later named Texas United Bancorp, which merged into Allied Bancshares (now Wells Fargo). She also assisted with numerous projects during Charles’ involvement with the Texas Bankers Association and American Bankers Association. She also held several positions with the Bankers’ Wives Association in Fort Worth.
In 1965, Polly worked with Charles when he led the petition drive and election campaign to create what is now Tarrant County College, often verifying signatures and addresses of voters long into many nights.
Closer to home, Polly led the effort to create a municipal library, and served on the library board for decades afterward, because of her passion for encouraging children to read. In recognition of their decades of involvement from inception of the North Richland Hills Public Library to the building of the current facility, the children’s library is named for Polly and Charles, and the children’s story time room is Polly’s Room.
Central to Polly’s life was her love of her Lord. She sang in numerous church choral groups until late in her life, worked in Sunday School in three churches with age groups from preschool to senior adult, coordinated Vacation Bible Schools for North Side Baptist Church in Weatherford and North Richland Hills Baptist Church, and served on numerous church committees.
Polly was preceded in death by her husband, Charles, her parents, her brother Aaron and her sisters, Opal and Ilien.
Polly is survived by her son, Michael and wife Jamie Bodiford Brinkley; sister-in-law, Wanda Baker; and numerous nieces and cousins.
Funeral services were held Sunday, August 21 at North Fort Worth Baptist Church, 5801 North I-35W. Interment followed at Perrin Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the following: Brinkley Scholarship Fund or the Brinkley Chair to be established in the School of Business at Hardin-Simmons University, 2200 Hickory, Abilene, Texas, 79698; the Weatherford College Foundation for the Charles Brinkley and Pauline Cranford Brinkley Scholarship Fund, 225 College Park Dr., Weatherford, Texas 76086; or the North Richland Hills Public Library, designated for Children’s Services, 9015 Grand Avenue, North Richland Hills, Texas 76180.