Visitation: June 2, 2021, 5 – 7 PM at Fry-Smith Funeral Home, 502 Kent Ave in Tuscola, TX
Graveside Service: June 3, 2021, 1:30 PM at Buffalo Gap Cemetery (meet at cemetery)
Mary was born on December 9, 1940, in Crandall County TX to Roy Curby and Maime Beard Lee, an only child. Her mother became ill and was bed-ridden the last few years of her life. Mary learned how to cook, clean and be a care-giver at a very early age. When Mary was about 11 years old, while she was at school, her mother died. One of Mary’s biggest regrets was that she never had the opportunity to say goodbye to her mother. Mary dropped out of school while in the 8th grade, going to work full-time, a condition of being permitted to drop out of school.
In the summer of 1955, Hershell Willard White, Jr. asked the Lord in prayer “Where’s my girl?” and, two days later, Mary walked into the skating rink in Lubbock TX where Hershell liked to go. Although they were dating other people, within a very short time Hershell and Mary were dating each other exclusively. Hershell said that it was like Mary “latched onto him” and that she was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Hershell and Mary got married on June 2, 1956 in Lubbock TX and began their new life together. Their first daughter, Loretta Denise, was born prematurely in Lubbock TX on January 13, 1957. Their second daughter, Karen Sue, was born in Casper WY on November 8, 1958. Their third daughter, Sherry Lynn, was born at 6-1/2 months in Lubbock TX on December 3, 1959. She died on December 5th and was buried on December 7th in doll clothes. By Mary’s 19th birthday, she had lost her mother and a daughter and had two daughters under the age of three at home. Their only son, Caleb Wayne, was born in Lubbock TX on June 13, 1962. Although this completed their naturally born family, they were second parents to many others, between nieces, nephews, friends of their kids and their own grandchildren. They lived in Lubbock TX, Casper WY, Dallas TX, Denver CO, Irving TX and Tuscola TX over the course of their 65 years together.
Hershell’s and Mary’s family was their highest priority and their greatest joy. They promised each other that their children would never doubt how much they were loved. Love was never conditional in our home. Another promise they made to each other was that their kids would never go to bed hungry, even when it meant that they themselves would. Mary was a fierce protector of her family and a great mother. She was a good cook and an excellent homemaker. Hershell says that they had to start over at least 10-12 times and that Mary never complained. She would just “put her apron on and go to work” outside the home whenever necessary. They were also very giving to others in need, numerous times they gave away half of the contents of their pantry to others. One of Mary’s best qualities was that she gave of herself. She was a lifetime caregiver to many family members through their pregnancies, illnesses and injuries. Education was also important to Mary. She went to night school and got her GED. Mary asked three things of us kids: that we would not smoke, that we would not cuss and that we would graduate from high school.
Mary loved roses and flower gardens, birds, music boxes and dolls. She was left-handed and had pretty handwriting. She liked to read, listen to music and doodle when she was able. She was fun-loving, never allowed life to make her bitter and she was able to reconcile with her father before he passed away. Mary was loving and accepting of everyone. Time spent time with Mary was quality time. She was really interested in you and what you had to say. Mary personified the virtuous woman Proverbs speaks about in chapter 31.
Mary is survived by her husband Hershell White of Tuscola TX; daughter Denise Piwonka of Abilene TX; daughter Karen Gillentine and husband James of Tuscola TX; son Caleb White and wife Pam of Abilene TX; granddaughter Ruby Lee and husband Jim of Green Forest AR; grandson Milton Piwonka of Abilene TX; grandson Eric Gillentine and wife Penny of Lubbock TX; grandson Nicholas of Portland OR; grandson Thomas and wife Randi of Abilene TX; grandson Jordan and husband Adrian of Austin TX; grandson Joshua and wife Britny of San Angelo TX; great granddaughters Dawn Denise and Jessica Elizabeth Mary Lee of Green Forest AR; great grandchildren Isais, Caden, Ashton, Boston, Robert, Olivia, Kendal and Lexi of Abilene TX; great grandchildren Thaddeus, Elias and Jonas of San Angelo TX.
Mary is preceded in death by her mother Maime Beard Lee, her father Roy Curby Lee, her step-mother Dee Lee and her daughter Sherry Lynn White.
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