Mary Margaret Lemons, 92, resident of Aviston Countryside Manor in Aviston, born March 9, 1923, in Panhandle, Texas, passed away Sunday morning, April 19.
Ms. Lemons graduated from St. Anthony’s School of Nursing in Amarillo, Texas, in 1944, earned her BS degree from University of Oregon in 1948, and later her MS degree in Nursing Service Administration from Columbia University. Mary held many leadership positions throughout her nursing career including President of the West Virginia Nurses’ Association (1961- 63) and President of the National Nurses’ Association and Assistant Field Consultant and Assistant Professor of Nursing Education at University of Mississippi.
She also was Director of Nursing Service and several hospitals, including Beckley Memorial Hospital in W.Va.; Denver General Hospital in Colorado; Texas Tech Medical School Hospital in Lubbock, Texas; and St. Anthony’s Medical Center, in Oklahoma City, from where she retired. Throughout her career, Mary developed strong professional relationships; her keen sense of leadership and her creative ideas contributed to her successful nursing career.
A Master Gardener in Oklahoma City, her yard was lined with pink tulips each spring. She enjoyed many trips, both locally and abroad with her Master Gardener projects and associations. Wanting to immerse herself in international cultures, she traveled often, to China, Japan, and Europe. While attending school in New York, she took in the sounds of the Metropolitan Opera, even hearing Beverly Sills from the cheap seats at the top of the balcony. She supported stage and music in Oklahoma City, studied her family’s genealogy, and was always a good neighbor everywhere she lived. During the Oklahoma City Bombing, she responded to the church on 36th and Walker to lend aid and care for the injured.
Mary will be remembered as the “Cool Aunt” who traveled the world, always bringing home unique gifts to share, and was the ultimate hostess to her guests. And who could forget her cats? She always had a cat. Mary moved to the metro-east in February 2014 to be closer to her family, who are grateful to Cedar Trails in Freeburg for so graciously easing her transition from Oklahoma to Illinois; the caregivers from Christian HomeCare Services for being with Mary when family wasn’t able; and to Countryside Manor in Aviston and Hospice of Southern Illinois for lovingly making her last days so peaceful.
She was preceded in death by her parents Hubert Lee and Nellie, nee Lill, Lemons; and brothers Mason (Nell) Lemons and Louis (Betty) Lemons.
Surviving are her niece and nephews, of whom she was very proud, Norma Nell (Teddy) Brown of Siloam Springs, Ark., Al (Peggy) Lemons of White Deer, Texas, James (Thel) Lemons, of Freeburg and Frank (Barb) Lemons of Hannibal, Mo.; 10 great-nieces and nephews; 14 great-great nieces and nephews and one great-great-great nephew.
Memorials are suggested to the Carson County Square House Museum, PO Box 276, Panhandle, TX 79068. The guest book may be signed at www.wfh-ofallon.com.
Graveside Services will be 10 a.m. Monday, April 27, at Panhandle Cemetery, Panhandle, Texas.
Wolfersberger Funeral Home in O’Fallon will handle the arrangements.