Mary Blakely of Nashville, Ark., passed away on Jan. 28, 2022, at the age of 85. She passed peacefully after a brief illness with her son at her bedside.
Mary was born Mary Christine Russell on May 18, 1936, at home in Nashville, Ark., the oldest of two daughters of Garner and Flora Mae Russell.
Mary graduated in 1954 from Nashville High School and later from the Draughton School of Business in Little Rock, Ark. She met her future husband Bill Blakely in the fifth grade and they were later married for 64 years. As an Air Force family, Mary and Bill lived in California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, the United Kingdom, and Mississippi. Mary particularly enjoyed their three-year tour in England where their son Jeff was born. Upon returning to Mississippi, she worked with Pruitt Oil Company in Jackson, until retiring in 1998 and moving back home to Nashville to be closer to family and lifelong friends.
One of Mary’s great joys was teaching Sunday School classes for elementary-aged children for close to 40 years in Jackson and First Baptist Church of Nashville. She was an active volunteer in numerous church committees, the Christian Health Center of Howard County and enjoyed her work with Operation Christmas Child.
Mary was a little woman who packed a big heart. She perfected the lost art of the hand-written letter and loved any opportunity to send thoughtfully-crafted cards to dear friends. With the advent of cell phones, she connected regularly with lifelong friends through texts and chats. She also enjoyed her Silver Sneakers classes, feeding visiting hummingbirds and deer, and outwitting contestants on “Wheel of Fortune.” On Friday nights, she was often huddled by her radio listening to coverage of Nashville Scrappers football games.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Bill. She is survived by her son, Jeff Blakely, and his wife, JoAnne, of St. Augustine, Fla.; her sister, Geneva Smith and her husband John, of Clarksville, Ark.; brother-in-law Ronny Blakely and his wife, Jeanne, of Greensboro, N.C.; sisters-in-law, Shirley Blakely and Pat Blakely of Nashville, Ark., and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and their families.
Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 31, at Latimer Funeral Home in Nashville. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. at Nashville Cemetery under the direction of Latimer Funeral Home. Kevin Sartin will be officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Operation Christmas Child, P.O. Box 339, Nashville, AR.
You may send an online message at www.latimerfuneralhome.com.