Koma Beryl (Mahler) Fields
Church and Community Leader, BA 1940
Koma Beryl (Mahler) Fields was born October 24, 1919, in Vernon, Texas, the daughter of G.A. “Jack” and Ethel Mahler. She and her older brother, G.A. Mahler Jr., were reared on a farm near Claude in the Texas Panhandle. Her parents fostered a Christian home with a strong entrepreneurial work ethic. Koma Beryl accepted Christ at age 11 and was active in First Baptist Church of Claude where she still holds membership. She grew up during the Depression Era, riding horseback and exploring the countryside with her brother and friends. After graduating from Claude High School in 1936, she followed her big brother to Hardin-Simmons University.
Hardin-Simmons proved to be the field where Koma Beryl blossomed. She enjoyed four years as a Cowgirl, serving as vice president of the group. She was president of Alpha Psi Omega and of the Future Teachers Society. Training to be a teacher, she served on the Student Council and was active in speech and drama groups on campus.
Upon graduation in 1940, Koma Beryl became the junior high reading and speech teacher with Phillips Public Schools, in a small oil refinery town of the Texas Panhandle. There she met Henry F. Fields, a high school coach and woodworking teacher with Phillips schools. Their bond deepened as Henry joined the Army and became an officer. They were married on February 27, 1943, at Ft. Meade, Maryland. Koma Beryl continued to teach while Henry served overseas during the war years.
Afterward, they moved back to Claude in 1946 where Henry began farming and ran a woodworking shop, Koma Beryl taught school until their children were born, and they built their home together. They had two children, Henra Kay was born in 1947 and Jack Douglas in 1950.
Koma Beryl was devotedly involved with her husband’s work and her children’s schooling, church, sports and enrichment activities. She assisted in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and was a church camp sponsor throughout their growing-up years. She also supported her husband in his farming and ranching, professional organization leadership, public service activity, and his long service as a deacon of First Baptist Church of Claude. They enjoyed travels to Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, and more. They relished ski time and rest with family in the mountains of Angel Fire, New Mexico.
Koma Beryl has long given back to Hardin-Simmons University. She served on the Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2000, and continued to serve on the Board of Development until 2010. She and Henry were married almost 63 years when he died in 2006. They delighted in helping students earn “an education enlightened by faith” on the Forty Acres. She continues to contribute to not only her local church scholarship but also a variety of scholarships and projects at HSU. In 2001, she and Henry established the Henry and Koma Beryl Fields Endowed Presidential Scholarship, which allows students with special needs an opportunity to attend HSU. The couple funded the President’s Dining Room on the second floor of Moody Center. Upon Henry’s death in 2006, Koma Beryl established the Henry Ford Fields Memorial Endowment for Athletics to benefit the general athletic program.
Her children have given her seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. We at Hardin-Simmons University join with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as we “rise up and call her blessed.”
It is the high honor of Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Koma Beryl (Mahler) Fields into the HSU Hall of Leaders.