Wayland founder's descendent celebrates a century along with the university

PLAINVIEW – Two years ago, when Wayland Baptist University organizers began planning for the centennial celebration for 2008-09, they issued a challenge to Beulah McInnish, then 98.

“We told her we wanted to celebrate her 100th birthday while we were celebrating Wayland’s 100th birthday, and she said, ‘I’ll be there,’” recalls Hope English, chair of the centennial celebration. “I think she’s been living for this day.”

So on Monday, Nov. 3, surrounded by other Wayland descendents and many friends from the university and community, McInnish celebrated her own centennial during the same year her grandfather’s namesake school celebrates 100 years in existence.

Born Nov. 3, 1908, McInnish was the daughter of Rosser Winn and Beulah Wayland Winn, the oldest daughter of university founders Dr. James H. Wayland and wife Sarah. When her mother died from complications of childbirth, the grieving young father found it hard to care for an infant, and she came to live with her Wayland grandparents.

At the time, Dr. and Mrs. Wayland had 3-year-old twins, Bob and Marguerite, so the three were raised nearly as triplets. She still calls the doctor Papa and shares rich stories about his love for people and his selfless service to the people of the Plains as a medical doctor with a 300-mile radius territory.

Just a few months before young Beulah was born, the university named for her family was chartered with the state of Texas on Aug. 31, made possible in large part by a vision of Dr. Wayland for a Christian institution of higher learning and a gift of $10,000 and 25 acres of land. Area Baptist churches rose to the challenge and raised additional funds so work could begin on the school.

Baby Beulah literally grew up with the university, then, visiting the campus often as “Papa” served on the Board of Trustees and was highly involved in the university’s growth and reach. Though she only attended the school briefly, she has been a longtime Plainview resident and supporter of the place that meant so much to her grandfather.

Monday’s reception followed a private family luncheon in the McClung University Center where other Wayland grandchildren traveled to celebrate with Beulah. Granddaughter Betty Boone of Anthony, N.M., and husband Ralph were in attendance, as well as grandson Bill Lees and wife Mary of Lubbock, granddaughter-in-law Evelyn Adams of Glen Rose and granddaughter Mary Adams of Glen Rose, grandson Bob Wayland of Albuquerque and wife Susan, granddaughter Linda Lees Atkins of Plainview and great-granddaughter Sue Adams Carter of Glen Rose.

Beulah lives in Amarillo with her sister-in-law Dorothy McInnish, with whom she has lived for many years since her husband Grafton died. Beulah’s great-niece, Elizabeth Walker of Amarillo, cares for the pair and arranged the family lunch gathering. She and husband Mike attended the luncheon, along with her children, Jeremy and Heather Thompson and her father, George Pulley and wife Vera.

The luncheon was an informal time of visiting, with brief entertainment by former Miss Wayland Terra Watson of Plainview, who shared two jazz songs and led the group in singing “Happy Birthday” to Beulah.