Dublin Legends have traveled varied paths; each is unique, yet similar qualities are shared. Whether coming to Dublin as an adult or being “homegrown,” each one has been a role model for taking life’s circumstances and shaping them into success.
Inez Cox Grauke was “homegrown.” Living away from Dublin during her younger adult years, she returned to spend the second half of her life leaving her hometown a rich legacy through her artistic talents, preserving nature and its beauty, and her passion for progress, all demonstrated by her daily life.
Born in 1924 in the Edna Hill home of her great-grandmother, Inez was the oldest of three children and grew up close to the land. By 1930, she was joined by two younger brothers. The Cox family spent the first half of the depression years farming, thus Inez developed very early her appreciation for nature, her strong work ethic and desire to achieve, and her positive, progressive attitude.
By 1936 the Coxes moved into Dublin where teacher Anne Lynn Leatherwood recognized and encouraged Inez’s artistic talent. As a youngster, she was also influenced by the mother of a friend who attended college part time and after several years received a degree.
This lady had a life-long affect on Inez, always keeping alive the quest to keep learning new things and perfecting her crafts.
Through mutual friends Inez met Morris Grauke from the Bunyon community and was courted by him seeing movies and going for ice cream. They were married in 1942 and lived in Big Spring near his army air corps base before Grauke’s overseas deployment in World War II.
Returning to Dublin with young son, Clyde, Inez lived with her parents and worked behind the soda fountain at the Rexall Drugstore while she awaited Grauke’s return.
After the war, the family moved to San Angelo where Grauke later went to work for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Continuing with the Corps, Grauke moved the family to Hubbard in 1962 and while there Inez began her photography business in 1964.
With the U.S. Corps of Engineers involved in the Proctor Lake project, the Graukes came home to Dublin in 1964, and Grauke continued his work for them at Proctor until his retirement.
Inez had married in 1942 before graduating from Dublin High School; not happy that she didn’t receive that diploma, she worked tirelessly throughout the reminder of her life always taking classes, courses, workshops, learning skills from photographers on an individual basis—she had an unquenchable thirst to continue training.
Daughters Clair and Bettye were welcomed along the way, making Inez a very busy wife and mother of three as her zeal to develop her skills propelled her continued study.
One of Inez’s favorite sayings was, “If something is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well,” reported daughter Bettye, and Inez had that expectation for her family as well as herself. The drive for quality and improvement were constant.
In 1957 she received a certificate similar to today’s GED; through the American Red Cross she received certificates in swimming classes and in 1956 was certified as a Life Saving and Water Safety Instructor. She received in 1961 credit equivalent to four semesters of classes from Lloyd D. Witter for basic photography.
Learning to retouch negatives in San Angelo, she was influenced greatly at this time by photography and portraiture working with several mentor photographers along the way. Her photography business in Dublin officially began in 1965.
From 1965 to 1986 Inez captured many of Dublin’s citizens through portraits of babies, children, engagements, weddings, 50th anniversary celebrations and she chronicled the Miss Dublin Pageant winners for many years.
In addition to her career as a photographer, the Grauke family purchased the D. L. Harris house on N. Patrick in early 1964 and did massive renovations on the historic home that had been unoccupied for many, many years.
Possessing good carpentry skills herself, Inez and Grauke worked shoulder to shoulder in restoring this vintage residence, which had to be re-roofing before the family could move in. Bettye commented that her mother said often, “Your dad and I, we work well together.”
Always supportive of Inez’s work, Grauke took an active role in setting up the darkroom, framing pictures, helping when weddings and large groups were photographed. They always blended their skills and worked together.
Professionally she was a part of Central Texas Art Association, American Photographic Artisans Guild, Texas Professional Photographers Association, Society of the World’s Greatest Photographers, and United We Stand America
Closing her photography studio in 1986, she painted, looked after nature around her, and kept pace with Dublin’s organizations.
Very active in the community, Inez was a member of Dublin Senior Citizens, Dublin Historical Society, Erath County Genealogical Society, Friends of the Dublin Public Library, Chamber of Commerce, the Corner Lot Gang, Keep Dublin Beautiful as well as being active in the First Baptist Church.
Inez created the sketch that the Dublin Public Library uses on its stationary and the original sketch hangs in the library today. Also, her paintings have been displayed in businesses and meeting places all over Dublin through the years.
Working incessantly on the genealogy of her family as well as preserving the history of her hometown and area, she logged many hours with the local museum.
Always working for beauty, her daughter remembered a time when the highway department planned to mow the medians between Dublin and Stephenville; Inez asked to sow wildflower seeds before hand, to allow the mowing to scatter the seeds.
Getting the green light, she broadcast 2-3 large trash bags of dried Indian Blanket seeds just outside of Dublin; it worked and these beautiful wildflowers have returned each year. Her aim was for people coming to or leaving Dublin to carry the beauty of her hometown with them as they traveled.
A private person, the lady the public saw was the real thing—her values were consistent wherever she was; she was humble and never saw herself as significant.
When Inez Cox Grauke passed away in 2008, her loss was deeply felt. She left Dublin a better place, nicer, prettier. The legacy of her art in various mediums, her attention to and improvement of her natural surroundings, her example of study and progress, added to the extraordinary role model of her daily life left her hometown so much richer for her presence.
Entering the world on the eve of the Great Depression, that period in history as well as her rural up bringing, strong family ties, and the challenges that came with daily life, Inez Grauke illustrated how an exceptional life was lived.
Her fierce quest to improve and beautify the world around her, while lovingly caring for her family and recording ancestral and community history made her a Dublin Legend.