Cree’s love of the natural world was also inspired by her mother, an avid admirer of beautiful gardens. Her gift created the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium at the Texas Discovery Gardens in Fair Park. A long-time supporter of the Dallas Arboretum, she funded Rosine Hall, the popular gathering space near the Arboretum’s entrance. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Trinity Park Conservancy and was one of the first supporters of Harold Simmons Park, which will be a gateway to the Trinity River and a natural gathering space for Dallas.
From her days as one of the first Brownies in Dallas, a member of a troop led by her mother, Cree has supported the Girl Scouts. She served as a Brownie leader and was instrumental in the founding of the STEM Center of Excellence, a first-of-its-kind experiential Girl Scout camp focusing on science and math. The Rosine Smith Sammons three-story observation deck serves as an outdoor stargazing classroom. In 2019 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.
Her legacy also remains in one of her favorite places, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She proudly supported the Grand Teton Music Festival and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, where she was elected to Emerita Trustee status.
Cree was born on January 8, 1930 to Charles and Rosine Smith Sammons. She graduated from Highland Park High School in 1947 and studied mathematics at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. She graduated from SMU in 1951. As a single mother raising five children, she married Richard “Dick” Cree, Sr. in 1968. Each brought four sons and a daughter to the union. Together they raised two families as one, welcomed sons and daughters-in-law and spoiled dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
As a mother, grandmother and friend, Cree embraced life and her passions, sharing her love of the arts with her grandchildren at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and admiring each season at the Arboretum with friends. She traveled the world, enjoying its treasures from the unique vantage points of a hot air balloon, the Concorde or a plane that she piloted. Her legacy will live in the memories of those who loved her and in the joyful and memorable experiences of those who will continue to benefit from her generosity and vision.
Cree is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Richard Cree Sr., and a granddaughter, Katherine Rosine Williams. She is survived by 10 children, Richard Cree Jr. (Carol); David Cree (Trudi); Lee Williams; Stephanie Cree; Charles Addison Williams; Chris Cree (Carla); Elaine Myers (David); Bruce Williams (Amy); Brian Paul Cree (Michelle); and Brian E. Williams (Kimberly); 23 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren.
A visitation will take place Sunday, July 25, from 4-6pm at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home followed by a memorial service Monday, July 26, at 3pm at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Valet parking will be provided. The family respectfully requests no flowers.