Mary Elizabeth Gilbert was born on February 12, 1861, in old Lebanon, Collin County, Texas. She was educated at Mary Nash College in Sherman, Texas, and later married her childhood sweetheart, Lee Bivins, on August 18, 1882.
Lee Bivins will always have a prominent place among the eminent pioneer cattlemen who helped build the Panhandle of Texas. He was instrumental in Amarillo’s development and served as mayor for four terms until his death in 1929. Praised as a man of great kindness and generosity, Lee Bivins served his community to the utmost of his ability without seeking publicity.
Mary Bivins was a dedicated philanthropist, giving to a wide range of public charities and providing numerous private gifts to needy individuals. In 1949, with the determination to leave the world a better place than she found it, Mrs. Bivins established the Mary E. Bivins Foundation.
Before her death in 1951, Mary E. Bivins was able to see the first fruits of her Foundation through the construction of the Elizabeth Jane Bivins Home for the Aged. The home was built and dedicated to fulfill Mrs. Bivins’ heartfelt desire to care for her aging friends and other elderly citizens in her community.
Since 1949, the Mary E. Bivins Foundation has continued the vision and legacy of this special woman, striving to improve and enrich the quality of life of individuals living in the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle by meeting their physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs.