Throughout her life, Dallas Hirst Lumpkin fostered a desire “to help those in need” – a desire she continually demonstrated through an active involvement in church, school, and community affairs. The mother of eight children, she instilled in them the foundation of a strong faith and the conviction that a good education was one of the most important achievements of anyone’s life. She never asked of others that which she would not do herself.
She was born Dallas Louise Hirst, the second daughter of Daisy Isabelle Babylon Hirst and Arthur Roscoe Hirst on June 18, 1909 in Yonkers, New York. After her father became Wisconsin’s State Highway Engineer, she moved with her family to Madison. Her family attended Grace Episcopal Church, where she first met her future husband, William “Bill” Lumpkin, son of the rector, Rev. Hope Henry Lumpkin and Maybelle Henderson Lumpkin. The Lumpkin’s were originally from Columbia, South Carolina.
Having ambitions to become “the matron of an orphanage or an artist or writer”,1 Miss Hirst ultimately majored in social work in college. She attended Wellesley College in Boston, Massachusetts for two years, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, graduating with an A.B. degree in Sociology (1930). In 1931, she earned an M.S. degree in Social Work from Simmons College, Boston. Taking a position in social research in Cincinatti, Ohio, she explained, “I like social work because I like contact with persons and enjoy entering into their life plans and trying to help them.”2
In December 1933, Dallas Hirst married her sweatheart Bill Lumpkin, now ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. In 1934, they moved to Boston, after Rev. Lumpkin was called to serve as an assistant priest at Trinity Church, Copley Square. As clergy wife, Mrs. Lumpkin found a new use for her degree in social work. Thus began a life of several “call” relocations, including to Charleston, South Carolina and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until the last church assignment in Rock Hill in 1951.
At that time, she and Mr. Lumpkin also found their beloved retreat home “Sea Forest” on Edisto Island. There they vacationed every August with their children, enjoying swimming, fishing, crabbing, and assorted adventures. Having been a northeast-midwest city girl most of her early life, Mrs. Lumpkin relished the Low Country natural settings and coastal scenery, often subjects of her art.
After Mr. Lumpkin’s untimely death in 1969, Mrs. Lumpkin returned to her professional roots, teaching Sociology at Winthrop College and Friendship Junior College. She put the three youngest children through college by herself. She also studied art at Winthrop College, producing charcoal studies, pen and ink, and watercolor pieces, some of which became cherished birthday gifts. (Several shown here.) She continued vacations at Edisto with her ever-expanding family until her health prevented visits. Late in life, her favorite past-times were to rock on the porch at Sea Forest soaking in the ocean-borne sea breezes or to swim in the surf and float on gently rolling waves.
True to hers and Mr. Lumpkin’s goals, all eight children earned college degrees; two earned doctorates, one an M.Div, and three earned master’s degrees. As of 2019, Dallas Hirst Lumpkin (MS) and the Rev. William Wallace Lumpkin (DD, M.Div) are survived by seven of their eight children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom have graduated from college (so far)!
1 and 2 From Realizes Both her Ambitions at an Early Age: Woman Takes Up Her Work Here in Social Research, news article. Source unknown, likely The Cincinatti Enquirer.