My beloved mother Mary died of natural causes at 3:25 a.m. on June 2, 2015. After a long illness and many triumphs in her hard-fought battles with disease, she passed peacefully into her eternal sleep last night.
She was born Mary Naomi Husk in Chickasha, Oklahoma on May 11, 1934. Mary was the youngest of 11 children born to George Franklin and Bertha Lee (Yates) Husk.
Growing up in dust bowl Oklahoma during the Great Depression, my mother often related stories of the hardships her large family endured when her father - like so many Americans - was out of work and struggling to support his many children.
One of her first life memories was when all 13 people and their pets were evicted into the street for inability to pay their rent. The experience had a profound lasting impact on my mother, who was only about 5 years old at the time.
Later in her adult life she became a landlord herself, and took pride in the fact that she never evicted a tenant for being too poor to pay their rent. "I would never do to another family what was once done to mine," she said. "Folks can always find a way to work debts out in time if you just give them a chance. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. They shouldn't lose their home and have their belongings set on the curb in the rain like ours was. We lost everything."
Music ran in the family; most of her brothers and sisters had musical talent, and some were professional performers. By her late `teens, Mom was already writing her own country and gospel songs and dreaming dreams of stardom on stage or the screen. She had a regular radio show on WKY-AM in the early 1960s singing with a young partner named Norma Jean, who went on to achieve great success as an international recording artist.
While continuing to pursue her music - she had already cut a few records locally in Oklahoma City and was sending demos of her original music to Nashville producers looking for a deal - Mom worked a day job behind the counter at Bill Veazey's Drug Store on Robinson downtown. It was there she met my father, the man who would become the one and only great love of her life, James Lyman Jones (known to all who knew him as J.L.)
At the time, J.L. was the top car salesman at Bolen Oldsmobile, just around the corner from Veazey's. Despite the 30 year age difference between them, sparks flew. Soon, my father was coming to the Veazey's lunch counter every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner to see her. Their families were skeptical at first; he was old enough to be her father at nearly 60 years of age. She was a never-married, beautiful, talented young woman of 30 with her best days ahead of her. She happily chose to give up her music career ambitions and spend those best years of her life with my father.
They were married January 22, 1963 by a local judge who was a friend of dad's from his previous career as an attorney at law. My parents had accepted early in the marriage that having children was likely impossible, given the age difference between them and dad's mature age. Imagine everyone's surprised joy when on April 21, 1969, I came into the world a healthy baby girl with parents aged 35 and 65!
My mother devoted her life after that to being a housewife and caregiver, both to me as a child and later to my father when his health began to fail. When my beloved dad passed away on March 28, 1979, my mother swore she would never remarry...and she kept that pledge.
Mom found a career in real estate and worked hard raising me as a single parent. She enjoyed being a landlord and was much beloved by all her tenants, who often kept in touch with her on a friendly basis years after they had moved out.
After her retirement in 2000, Mom became fascinated with computers and the internet. She spent her last many years creating popular Christian websites on the former WebTV network. Her online ministry garnered her thousands of devoted fans, who never missed an update. She did all this advanced coding and HTML work - as well as writing all her own text, creating her own graphics and audio/video -- strictly on a volunteer basis without pay, sometimes putting in 12 and 14 hour days behind the keyboard. She continued to work every day until very recently, when her eyesight deteriorated to the point where she could no longer see to use the computer. That in itself is such a strong testament to her faith in Jesus.
Now she is finally in that heaven she always dreamed about, reunited at last with her many family members who preceded her in death, all her old pals from a life well lived, and the man she has eagerly waited to see again for 36 years...my father.
No services will be held at this time. Arrangements are under the direction of Smith-Gallo Funeral Home, Guthrie.
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