In the late 1940s, Mary Jones, who was born in 1915, began a job that eventually led her to work at Disneyland. “I worked for the Anaheim Truck and Transfer Company, which was owned by the Mayor of Anaheim, Charles A. Pearson,” Mary explained. “During those years I met Ed Ettinger, who was Disneyland’s director of the Public Relations division. I resigned from the trucking company in 1956, so I could be at home with our three daughters.”
Mary promised to let Ed know if she ever planned to work again, so she called his office in 1962 and left word that she would return to work in September. Ed offered her a job, and on Disneyland’s seventh anniversary, Mary accepted a job at the Park as a Secretary.
In September, Ettinger asked Mary to assume responsibility for Disneyland Community Relations. That included administering the Community Service Awards, which had been initiated in 1957. Mary accepted the challenge, but explained that she “also enrolled in public relations courses at USC and UCLA in order to do the best job possible.”
Mary once said, “My philosophy on our responsibility has always been that good community relations is making sure that Disneyland is a good neighbor and citizen, and if we can do that, it benefits the community, our cast members, and Disneyland.”
In addition to such programs as the Community Service Awards, Mary initiated and supervised the Operation Christmas program and the Community Action Team.
International relations was also an important part of Mary’s work. “Because we are such an international institution, dignitaries and visitors who come to our country want to see Disneyland,” Mary recalled. Working with the State Department and as liaison to the Los Angeles Consular Corps and the San Francisco consulates, which have jurisdiction over Orange County, Mary coordinated visits to the Park by heads of state, royalty, and other important foreign dignitaries. Because of this knowledge, Mary was “on loan” during her final year at Disneyland to the County of Orange, to establish an official protocol for the County.
After nearly a quarter of a century of distinguished service to the Park, Mary retired in February of 1986. Her year-long “loan” to the County continued for almost another decade, during which Mary established the Orange County Office of Protocol and served as its chief.
On her retirement from the Park, Mary reflected not on her own achievements, but her appreciation of Disneyland teamwork. “Because of our department’s unique responsibilities, we’ve had to rely on the help and cooperation of all the divisions—and they’ve always come through. It has truly been a joy.”
Mary Jones passed away on May 23, 2008.