Mary C. Stottlemyre, age 96 years, passed from this world on November 12, 2023 at Willow Care in Willow Springs, Missouri.
Mary was born in the hills of Dykes, Missouri on December 11, 1926 to Zealous H. Collins and Cleda (Gaither) Collins. She was the second of eleven tight-knit siblings, a pillar of comfort and wisdom for her family throughout her long life.
She was united in marriage to Verl “Short” Stottlemyre on November 24, 1949. Together, they had one child: Janet (Stottlemyre) Kell.
Beyond her role as a loving mother, wife, sister, grandmother, and friend, Mary was a woman of achievement. Upon graduation from Houston High School, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in education from Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield, Missouri, simultaneously starting her teaching career in the Logan, Oak Grove, and Ragsdale (where she had the unique opportunity to have her siblings as pupils) rural schools. Mary later obtained a master’s degree in education from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. She continued her prolific career in education – transitioning to the role of fifth grade teacher in 1955 at Houston Elementary, where she eventually retired as the principal in 1982, 27 years later.
A steadfast advocate for learning and empowerment, Mary was a member of the American Association of University Women and a 50-year member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society for women educators.
Mary’s creativity was second to none. She was a skilled artist and writer, favoring poems and painting. That creativity extended into the garden, where she showed considerable talent with flower arrangements, even earning a Grand Champion prize at the Missouri State Fair. She continued to feed her passion in gardening as a member of the Houston Garden Club for many years.
Mary will be missed deeply by all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Verl; parents, Zealous and Cleda; brothers, Norman Collins, Zealous “Junior” Collins, Carl “Bud” Collins, and Clyde Collins; and sister, Marie Smyer.
Mary is survived by her daughter, Janet, and her husband, Gary, of St. James, Missouri. Two grandchildren, Stephanie Hayes of St. James, Missouri, and Shannon (Mendy) Kell of Rolla, Missouri. Three great-grandchildren – Colin (Catelyne) Hayes, of Broomfield, Colorado, and Molly and Padric Kell of Rolla, Missouri. Brothers – Robert (Barbara) Collins of Polo, Illinois, and Larry (Sara) Collins of Cabool, Missouri. Sisters – Lucille (Ervin) Yarnell of Eudora, Kansas, Louise (Max) Walker of Mountain Grove, Missouri, and Cleta (Junior) Vaughn of Cabool, Missouri, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Family, friends, and others whose lives Mary touched are invited to the visitation at First Baptist Church in Houston, Missouri, on Saturday, November 18th at 10:00 a.m. Funeral services will follow at 12:00 p.m. with burial at Dykes Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be made to the Dykes Cemetery or the Houston Education Foundation.