Mary Hawthorne, 90, former 60 year resident and native of Natchitoches, passed away peacefully June 8, 2019, at her home in Temple, Texas, surrounded by her family. A celebration of her life is planned in a few weeks in Natchitoches.
Family preceding her in death are her husband of 65 years, H.G., and their four-legged “babies”; her two beloved sons, baby Ralph Long and Johnny Long; her parents, Ralph Wedel and Masiena J. Wedel Beaudoin; and her much loved Grandma, Mary Watley.
Survivors are four daughters, Sherrie Phipps/Larry of Sugar Land, Texas, Camille and Nanette Hawthorne of Temple, Cecile Allen/Steve of Leander, Texas; five grandchildren, Jason Phipps/Mary Ellen of Sugar Land, Whitney Shanks/Thomas of Austin, Texas, Taylor Bettis/Brett Davis of Leander, and Hunter Bettis of Leander; and her four-legged granddaughter, Sissy of Temple; three great-grandchildren, Parker Shanks of Austin, and Lucie and Grace Mary Phipps of Sugar Land; daughter-in-law, Kay Long of Shreveport; very special 5thdaughters, Sue Kennedy, Ginger Lindsey Picone and Darlene Rachel Elliot; and dear friends, Dot Lindsey and Rose Matthews.
Mary’s longtime wish was to donate her body to science. She will be studied at Texas A&M Health Science. When completed, a tree will be planted in Texas A&M’s Memorial Garden by the class which studies Mary’s donor group. She will join the memory of HG in the Garden near the tree of his donor’s Class of 2022. Her remains will be placed with HG’s in Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches.
As an only child, Mary collected her “siblings” thru life-long friends and also friends through her girls’ activities, numerous volunteer events, her bowling teams and the Moose Lodge, where she served as President of the Women’s group.
She was baptized at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and raised her family at First Baptist Church.
Mom outlived many of her friends including her dear friend and Cajun, Barbara Foshee Davies. Together with seven girls between them, there was never a dull moment. Fond memories include dancing and music in the house, getting cars stuck in the woods, trips to Crystal Lake and Gum Springs and learning all things Cajun. Other very special friendships were with Evelyn Miller, Fern Perot and their families and next door neighbor, Bessie Brossette, who was like a Mom to her.
Mary was the consummate hostess, with many of Johnny and her girls’ friends and Sigma Kappa Sorority sisters enjoying her good food and hospitality. They also enjoyed fishing, boating and water skiing from their home on Cane River and other fun times at their Blanchard Road home. As a stay-at-home mom, Mary served many times as Home Room Mom, assisted in PTA duties and many fundraisers at their schools, church or the Moose Lodge. She rarely missed Johnny and the girls’ ball games and Cecile’s cheerleading activities. Oftentimes she was one of the drivers to take groups of kids on church or school trips and aptly earned the nickname “Roadrunner” which she continued to fulfill long after we were grown.
Mom loved having a pretty yard and passed that love to Johnny and the girls. Bowling, especially in National Tournaments, was a favorite for her. After she and HG joined the Moose Lodge, they were very involved and loved their dances. She enjoyed jigsaw puzzles and spent many hours with family working them. The highlight of 1972 was when Sue Kennedy came into our lives. She and “Mrs. H” formed a lifelong bond.
She loved to travel, whether she and HG were making fun for the kids in Florida, 6 Flags, the Ozark Mountains, Disney World after visiting Sherrie in Naples, Fla., traveling without the girls to see Johnny in Norfolk after he finished basic Navy training or with Dot to Colorado to see Pat. Her travels also included cruising Alaska and through the Panama Canal, both with Nanette, and several trips to Hawaii with Nanette and several other family members.
After leaving Natchitoches, Mary and HG traveled between the girls, enjoying the activities of the grands, including all their games. They had many fun stops along the way; highlights were Branson, Graceland and several National Halls of Fame. In spending quite some time at Camille’s in Pennsylvania, they loved going to the nearby LPGA tournaments, Opryland and Nags Head, N.C., exploring her area including Niagara Falls, Canada, New York City, Falling Water Museum and Hershey, Pa., presidential homes and libraries, historical sites like Gettysburg and enjoying the fresh Amish veggies, especially the corn. Mom and Camille attended many Westminster College Celebrity Series concerts including one where they met Amy Grant.
At the age of 89, Mary was awarded the “Oldest Trail Walker” for the Temple Parks Walking Challenge for walking all 15 of the 6-miles of concrete trails.
Mom’s friends described her as magic, a true angel from heaven and a gift in their life. She had many sayings, our favorites were “you make sure I can see the top of your head if you go down that hill (from the back yard)” and “you better be home before the street lights come on.” Mom taught us many life-long lessons, especially to be kind and as Jesus said, “…love thy neighbor as thyself.” Thank you Lord for our precious Mom. She will be missed.
Special thanks to Central Texas Visiting Angels & Hospice Compassus.
In memory of Mary, donations may be made to NSU Demons Unlimited Foundation, 468 Caspari Drive, Natchitoches, 71497, for the Nanette Hawthorne Athletic Scholarship for Women or Westminster College, Celebrity Series, New Wilmington, PA 16172, or call 724-946-7371.