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As It Was: Elementary School Takes Name from Early Teacher Mae Richardson

One of Southern Oregon’s outstanding teachers, Mae Beatrice Richardson, maiden name Nealon, was born near the Table Rocks in 1884 and lived and worked her entire life in Jackson County.

She walked each day to Table Rock School, where she graduated from the eighth grade in 1902.  She began teaching at an early age with a three-month assignment at the Mount Pitt District, east of Butte Falls.  The county superintendent issued a temporary permit based on her eighth- grade diploma and a promise to earn a teaching certificate.

Nealon taught wherever she was needed, including the Meadows, Agate and Willow Springs schools.  After studies at the Oregon State Agricultural College in Corvallis, she taught in the Sams Valley east of Gold Hill. 

In 1915, Nealon married Jesse Richardson, and they later purchased the Pendleton Farm near the Table Rocks.  In 1924, she returned to teaching for the West Side District, followed by 24 years as a first-grade teacher in Central Point.  She retired in 1951, after 36 total years of teaching, but continued to substitute for 10 more years.  In 1965, the new Mae Richardson School was named in her honor.

Sources: Miller, Bill. "Mae Richardson-a teacher's reward." Mail Tribune, 11 Mar. 2012 [Medford, Ore.] www.mailtribune.com/article/20120311/News/203110335. Accessed 8 March 2018; "Some Jackson County, Oregon, Pioneer Families Mae B. Nealon." rootsweb, Ancestry.com, 10 Aug. 2012, https://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jaxsearch&id=I4966. Accessed 4 Mar. 2018.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.