Polly Carly, formerly of Marfa, passed from this life to the next on January 18, 2019.

She was surrounded by members of her family: in person were her brother- and sister-in-law Gene and Bernita Carly from Payson, Utah, her niece and nephew-in-law Gena and Kirk Bertelsen from Mapleton, Utah, grandchildren Vivian and Emmett Miles, son-in-law George Miles, and daughter Claire Carly-Miles, all residing in The Woodlands, Texas; on the phone were her sons Paul Hornaday and Scott Hornaday.

Polly was born Polly Anna Dunn in 1932 on a farm in Old Glory, Texas, outside of Fort Worth, to Clara Martin Dunn and John Dunn. When Polly was six months old, her father abandoned his wife and new baby, taking their four older children to live with him. Polly and her mother were left on their own to survive during the Great Depression, and they did survive, as Clara worked odd jobs around the Fort Worth area.

When Polly was about 12, her mother decided that she could no longer afford to keep Polly in school and gave her a choice: go to live with her Grandmother Martin in Galveston, Texas or live as a companion and be raised by Hetty and Dr. John Cook. Polly chose the Cooks and forever after referred to Mrs. Cook as “Mother Cook,” as a sign of her love for and appreciation of all Mother Cook did for her.

In 1949 at age 16, Polly graduated from Paschal High School in Fort Worth and began to attend Texas Christian University. There she met Emery Hornaday, and in 1951, she married and moved with him to Harlingen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, where Emery’s parents lived. She and Emery lived there, and for a short time in Washington, D.C., until they moved again back to Harlingen.

They had two sons, Paul Emery Hornaday and Edmund Scott Hornaday.

Polly’s first husband was killed in a small-plane crash, leaving her to parent both of her boys by herself for a while. She went back to school and earned her BA in Education from Pan American University (now the University of Texas-Pan Am) in Edinburg. She also met a Border Patrol officer named Roger Carly and married him in 1967. Together, they had a daughter, Claire Ilene.

They lived first in Harlingen and then in Brownsville, where Polly was a founding member and first president (1975-77) of the Brownsville chapter of the philanthropic organization PEO.

In 1977, the family moved to Marfa, Texas where Polly fell in love with both the town and the home they bought and would live in for the next 39 years, the last five of which without her beloved Roger, who passed on before her in 2011.

In 2015, when her daughter and family moved back to Texas from out-of-state, she lived with Claire in The Woodlands, and then, as her health further declined, nearby in Conroe, Texas.

She died on January 18, 2019, right after midnight, with a nightingale singing loudly and joyously right outside her window.

She is survived by her son Paul Hornaday, friend Lorena Schaldach, and grandchildren Paul Jr., Carly, and Audry Hornaday; her son Scott Hornaday, grandson Michael Hornaday, Jeannie Liams, and great-grandchildren Kiley and Waylon Hornaday; her daughter Claire Carly-Miles, son-in-law George Miles, and grandchildren Vivian and Emmett Miles.

Polly survived many hard times and enjoyed many happy times; she was a feisty woman who always spoke her mind. She had a strong faith in God, a strong will of her own, a wonderful sense of humor, and a fierce love for her family. She is and will continue to be missed, always. God Bless you, Mama; we love you very much.

A memorial will be held during the second week of June at the First Christian Church in Marfa, on Thursday, June 13, at 5:30pm. Please join us.

Polly loved the library—it was a mainstay of her life in Marfa and brought her much joy. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in her name to “The Friends of the Marfa Public Library.”

The Big Bend Sentinel

PO Box P
Marfa, TX 79843