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All roads lead to Texas

Giving News

By Angela Curtis

David MedleyPluck a boy out of Texas for a couple of decades and watch what happens.

“I never did change the way I talked,” David Medley says with a proud smile.

Medley began working for Celanese Corp. after graduating from the University in 1952 with a doctorate in organic chemistry. Medley had lived in Connecticut and Kentucky and worked in New York City by the time the company transferred him back to his home state in 1978.

Medley held on to his Texas drawl, but something else had changed when he, his wife, Rosemary, and their four children returned. At first Medley thought it was his fellow Texans.

“We were driving around Dallas one day, and I said, ‘Rosemary, I don’t remember so many redneck drivers in Texas,’ ” Medley recalls. “She thought a minute, and she said, ‘That’s because when we lived here before you were one of them.’ ”

The University of Texas has been good to Medley, and Medley has been good to the University. He has given to his home department, Chemistry, and his home college,
Natural Sciences, as well as athletics, the LBJ School, the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, and UTeach, among others.

“I feel like my Ph.D. from The University of Texas was my union card to the business world,” he says. “It’s important for me, and hopefully other people, to give back some of the things that they receive from The University of Texas.”

Medley’s latest gifts have been through the Pension Protection Act, which allows people 70½ and older to donate to qualified charities directly from their IRAs through the end of 2007. The amount they give is not counted as part of their income for tax purposes.

Medley met Rosemary Morris at Southwestern University in Georgetown, where both were studying for their undergraduate degrees. They married in 1949 in Longview and went on to have three daughters and a son. The couple used their post-retirement years to travel and enjoy their time together.

Rosemary was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1999 and died in 2003. Medley honors her by helping care for Alzheimer’s patients once a week to give their full-time caregivers a break.

“I understand the value of this so graphically because I was Rosemary’s full-time caregiver — how important it is to get away every once in a while to maintain your sanity,” Medley says.

Medley cherishes memories of their life together, even the early poor times when she struggled to support him on a teacher’s salary. They still found ways to enjoy
themselves. David would take Rosemary to the lab, get an experiment started, and they’d play bridge there with fellow students.

“That was an evening out.”

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