45 Years: Margaret Mitchell

Honoree Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell

Though she has stayed rooted to the same job for more than four decades, Margaret Mitchell enjoys branching out when she’s off the clock.

Her favorite trip, she says, was a three-island tour of Hawaii several years ago. A brother’s description of Alaska – glaciers, mountains, and moose – has Ms. Mitchell planning a trip that will take her up north. And most years, several of her friends from church and her neighborhood take four or five out-of-state trips.

But when she’s not traveling across the United States, Ms. Mitchell stays put. For more than 45 years, she’s been a Housekeeping Attendant at St. Paul University Hospital. She’s been affiliated with the hospital considerably longer than the hospital has been affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center, which didn’t purchase the hospital and its surrounding land until 2000.

“I want to say it was 1967, and I was working at a hospital downtown that had closed,” said Ms. Mitchell, 69. “Somebody told me about St. Paul, and they hired me the same day that I came out. And I’ve been here ever since.”

At St. Paul University Hospital, Ms. Mitchell cleans hospital rooms, making sure they are ready for new patients. She changes linens, makes beds, and takes out the trash.

For more than a decade, she worked double shifts. After an eight-hour day at St. Paul Hospital, Ms. Mitchell crossed the street to UT Southwestern’s South Campus, where she worked the 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift.

“I was trying to put my girls through school,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I slept on my days off when I didn’t have anything else to do.”

That sort of hard work was nothing new for Ms. Mitchell, sometimes known as “Sugar” to her co-workers because of how sweetly she treats everyone. She was raised on an Arkansas farm, the seventh of 11 children and the only girl among the siblings. Working alongside her father, mother, and 10 brothers, Ms. Mitchell helped raise hogs, cattle, and cotton.

At age 18, she traveled to Dallas to visit her oldest brother and ended up staying for good. She’s lived in different parts of the city – East Dallas, South Dallas, and now Oak Cliff – where she raised a daughter and two nieces. She’s known around the neighborhood for helping people with their laundry and housecleaning.

“I have a passion for helping those who are in need,” she said.

That extends to her job at St. Paul University Hospital. Although Ms. Mitchell said she expects to retire in the next year or so, she plans to enjoy what time she has left on the job.

“UT Southwestern is a good place to work,” she said. “I love being around people, taking care of people. I’ve always really enjoyed talking to patients and their families. This job has always been fun.” 

Employee Recognition 2013

Long-term employees play an invaluable role in the life of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Their faithful, dedicated service has helped the institution become what it is today. In this special edition of Center Times, we showcase some of these employees and their varied interests.