Mary Kay Ash, was an American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. Mary Kay Ash, born Mary Kathlyn Wagner in Hot Wells, Harris County, Texas, was the daughter of Edward Alexander and Lula Vember Hastings Wagner. She attended Reagan High School in Houston, and graduated in 1934. Ash married Ben Rogers at age 17. While her husband served in World War II, she sold books door-to-door. After her husband's return in 1938, they divorced. Ash went to work for Stanley Home Products. Frustrated when passed over for a promotion in favor of a man that she had trained, Ash retired in 1963 and intended to write a book to assist women in business.