What can be said about an extraordinary woman who broke every glass ceiling she ever faced? Mary Dulson Hinton was that woman. Mary was born in West Palm Beach on December 12, 1946 and passed in her beloved Jupiter on September 26, 2023. She was the devoted spouse to her soul mate, Jim, for 56 years before his passing only 57 days prior. She was the selfless and loving mom to her two adored daughters, Curry Krasulak (Kevin) and Cati Hinton, and the best Nana to her two pride and joys, grandchildren, Jack and Hadley. Mary’s parents and two of her brothers predeceased her and left to mourn her passing is her brother, Jim Dulson (Beth), her sister, Helen Daniell (Tim) a niece and several nephews; and her many friends, all of whom will miss having the bright light that was Mary in their lives.
Mary not only owned a valuable and large Rolodex, but she also had a huge heart which she opened to all who were lucky enough to be in her orbit. If someone or some group needed help, she could be found using her magic touch to resolve issues.
To say Mary lived a full and purpose driven life is not an exaggeration. She began her career as a sought after Registered Nurse, skilled in many areas including starting the NICU at St. Mary’s Hospital and was the first RN hired at Jupiter Medical Center. Mary and Jim were the builders and owners of the very successful Professional Learning Center, the largest preschool in the area. Mary was elected as Mayor of Jupiter when she was 33 years old, and successfully served five terms from 1980 through 1990, until she chose not to run for yet another term as her popularity as a leader and wise counsel was sought after by many other organizations. She was a trusted and valuable leader and child advocate, having been appointed by Governor Childs to serve on numerous state committees to improve Childcare Standards. She served on the Board of Conner’s Nursery, which was one of the only organizations in the country that provided a safe and nurturing home for babies and children diagnosed with AIDS when they had nowhere else to turn. Governor Bush appointed her to the newly formed State of Florida Film and Television Advisory Board. She worked in the Film Industry, mainly as a producer for the popular “Look Who’s Talking” movies, endearing herself to many in the industry who valued her friendship and her expertise. She was appointed to the Palm Beach County Film and Television, Emergency Medical and Contractor Advisory Boards. Upon stepping down from her Mayoral position, Mary incorporated her consulting business, in which she represented numerous clients nationwide as a governmental consultant. She represented clients in Florida State and County businesses as well as local government. She received many awards for her work as a child welfare lobbyist, The Executive Women National Policy Award, the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, and the Committee on the Status of Women Award. She has received accolades for her involvement in many local charities and businesses. She helped to place babies with numerous couples who hoped to have children in their lives. She helped several entities in her community to succeed. The Edna W. Runner Tutorial Center, located in West Jupiter, had Mary on its Board, and she helped to make it the exceptional program that it still is today. To date, more than 25 graduates from the Tutorial Center have attended college thanks to the Mary D. Hinton Scholarship which was established in her honor.
Her most recent foray into helping a large segment of society has been another true labor of love. In 2009, she began the Renewal Coalition to bring to fruition a group that would offer retreats to wounded veterans and their families and caretakers, and to Gold Star families, bringing them to the Jupiter area for rest and relaxing retreats. Mary partnered with many veterans’ groups like The American Legion, the VA Hospital, with local politicians, and with Congressmen over the years to strengthen her program. To date, her work has helped over 1,200 veterans and their families and since her passing, many have sent messages that she had saved their lives, marriages, and families through her work. Thanks to Mary’s perseverance and strong desire to honor and to help wounded heroes, the program is still helping these deserving veterans and their families. Mary’s dream of aiding veterans will continue to thrive as she has left a large group of community volunteers and businesses who are all willing to continue working as the Warrior’s Renewal Coalition.
Besides her big heart, Mary’s faith helped her to have a very strong belief in God. Her faith helped guide her to do all the good work she accomplished while on this earth. Another of her strengths was her wickedly wonderful sense of humor which served her well, not just with family and friends, but with all others she interacted with over the years. Her brilliant mind and quick wit helped to bring people and great ideas together when that task seemed impossible. “Impossible” was not part of her vocabulary.
Mary will be missed by all who knew her and will be remembered as a woman whose life made a positive difference in the world. She truly left this world better than she found it. It is with profound sadness that we must say “goodbye” to Mary as she is once again walking beside her beloved Jim. Her legacy will live on through the many things she accomplished in her lifetime; it will remain in the hearts of all who knew her and especially in her two daughters, her grandchildren, and her family.
And may we all say, “A job well done, Mary.”