Dudley Tomblinson was raised in Duncan, Oklahoma. Reta Mae Kent grew up in Hamby, Texas. Dudley came to Keene, Texas, in 1934 to attend Southwestern Junior College. Reta’s grandparents moved to Keene in 1893 to help build Keene Industrial Academy, which became Southwestern Junior College. After Reta graduated from Southwestern Junior Academy, she and Dudley married. The relationship that began on Southwestern's campus continued through 61 years of partnership in healthcare, ministry, and business.
Together they operated Tomblinson’s Grocery Store across from the Mizpah Gate in Keene. After finishing school in 1940, Dudley was offered a position at Paradise Valley Hospital near San Diego, California. He later transferred to Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, as assistant business manager. From there, he served as administrator of Doctors Hospital in San Jose, California; physician recruiter for the Texas Conference; first administrator, with Reta as his assistant, of the Menard Hospital in Menard, Texas; and as development officer for Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. He also served as vice president for management and became one of the five founders of Americana Healthcare Corporation, where he played a major role in developing 50 high-quality healthcare centers in 14 states. Last, he served as administrative pastor for The Keene Church of Seventh-day Adventists. After his retirement from the Church, Dudley and Reta founded Tomblinson Real Estate in Keene, Texas. He was a broker for the family business, and Reta served as office manager and lead realtor for a number of years.
Even though she was a devoted homemaker most of her life, Reta developed her secretarial skills to fill several positions during their moves from place to place. In recent years, she enjoyed volunteering at Huguley Memorial Medical Center, now Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South. Reta and Dudley were the parents of two children, Edwin Wayne Tomblinson and Carolyn Jo Wear, both Southwestern Adventist University Alumni. The Tomblinsons’ granddaughter, Julie Olsen Boone, is a Southwestern Adventist University Alumna as well.
Dudley served as president of Southwestern Adventist University’s Alumni Association and was named to the Alumni Hall of Fame in 1996. He and Reta are lifetime members of the University’s Committee of 100, for which he served as a board member for many years. He was a trustee of the University from 1975 until his death in 2002. Reta preceded him in death in July 1997. They established The Dudley and Reta Kent Tomblinson Scholarship in hopes of supporting students.
Scholarship award requirements
This scholarship is awarded to students from Texas or Oklahoma, who were born in either state, who lived in either state at some time in their life, or who currently live in either state. It is for students studying religion, business, or nursing and is based on academic achievement and financial need.
2020-2021-Yuiza Faith Miller, Kylie Turner, Emily Zakaluk
2019-2020 -Cindy Knights, Shannon Richards, Brandon Vera
2018-2019 -Brittany Mutchler, Jonathan Franco, Erick Torres
2017-2018 -Kyleigh Duke, Bruna Dunne
2016-2017 - Julien Escobedo, Sione Latuhoi, Nadia Williams, Starr Wallace
2015-2016 - Escobedo Santillan, Ordonez Calderon, Ginlian Thang
2014-2015 - Kevin Draper, Cesar Santos, Leonel Warner
2013-2014 - Michel Galloway, David Maldonado, Jimmy Stepp
2012-2013 - Zabdi Benitez, Janet Garcia, Samuel Vega
2011-2012 - Tammy Hamilton, Steven Solero, Nikki Truesdell
2010-2011 - Charlotte Clavecilla, Justin Lopez, Javier Velazquez