Setting Down Roots in Padre Island

After 32 years of wedded bliss, cancer claimed the life of Ila's beloved husband and this, as she recalled, "changed everything." Relying upon her inner strength, she decided that what she needed were new surroundings so in the late 1950s, she sold her home in New Jersey, packed up her things, and left town with her jeep in tow behind her.  She had heard about Padre Island so she went South and enlisted the aid of her nephew Dan Fox who was a talented architect to create a custom home for her near the shoreline.  In her words, it wasn't long before she was "skittering up and down the beaches of Padre Island."

It also didn't take long for the many beach jaunts to wear out her jeep so Ila traded its remains in for a bright red International Scout which the dealer fitted out with special hubs to enable Ila to have the "best beach buggy" around.  In her new Scout, she spent much time exploring the island while searching for seashells and other treasures that washed up onto the shore.  She wrote in later years that on occasion Dr. Thomas Pulley, then director of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, would accompany her on these beach trips.  At his persuasion, Ila bestowed several of "her treasures" to the museum. 

But beachcombing wasn't Ila's only pastime.  She was also instrumental in arranging for regular Sunday worship on the Island.  Not only did she secure a minister from a neighboring parish to provide services, but she and other volunteers made coffee for the congregation each week.  It didn't take long for her to get involved, as a member of the Board of Directors, to work towards the building of the Chapel by the Sea as a more permanent place of worship for the Island's residents.

Just before her birthday in 1960, Ila's mother passed away and it was at this time that Ila convinced her father to move in with her.  They had always been quite close and the arrangement was a happy one for them both.  Family would often come to visit for Ila's home was always a welcome haven and never lacked for fun. 


Ila and her Scout on the beach in Padre Island Texas
A New Home for Ila
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