Obituary of Mary Merle McLain
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A Life Well Lived… Mary was born November 14, 1928 in Henry County, Missouri, the third daughter of Clark and Elsie Parks. Like most rural families the Parks were self-sufficient living off the land. Mother grew up during the Great Depression and told of many times the family didn't have two nickels to rub together. My grandparents grew mainly sweet potatoes, melons and other row crops to take to town to sell. The girls would help in the field and feed the livestock. Grandmother Parks was very resourceful, in making the girls’ clothing out of feed sacks or whatever she could find to put a seam in. They got water from a well ½ miles from the house and would take baths behind the heating stove on Saturday nights. They worked extremely hard to make a living and mother had fond memories of her childhood. Grandmother played an organ and the girls learned to sing harmony. They would perform at church and youth meetings. Mother's love of singing stayed with her throughout life. One of her great joys was singing in the church choir. All the girls learned to sew from Grandma Parks and Mom continued to sew throughout her life. She enjoyed making mine and sister's school clothes, prom dresses, and even our coats. I'll never forget a blouse and skirt she made me in 2nd grade. The skirt fabric was very colorful and it would twirl. The blouse, she made out of white cotton fabric with closed multicolored buttonholes in a random pattern all over the front and multicolored buttons. I loved that blouse and insisted on wearing it to school every day for weeks. I was so sad when I outgrew it but it was pretty worn! Mother loved to crochet and made beautiful suncatchers and tablecloths. She made all of our household furnishings: drapes, bedspreads and quilts. She took great pride in being a complete homemaker. Mom and Dad met at Cole School and "dated" for several years prior to marrying June 30, 1945. This was at the end of the World War II. Dad had taken his first job as Parts Manager at Alva Allen Chevrolet making $25/week. They had no car so walked to get groceries and work. She remembered standing in long lines to get towels, underclothes, etc. that were of poor quality at Penney’s. Times were hard. Mom would wash clothes on a "washboard". Dad's legs were so long that her knuckles would be raw scrubbing his work pants. When they could afford to, she got a Maytag washing machine with a top wringer and a wash tub to rinse the clothes. Her machine was in our single car garage and she hung clothes out to dry and still liked doing so until she quit doing her laundry. When first married Dad bought an old Model A Ford to fix up. They relined the inside, painted the outside black with a brush and tuned up the motor. They sold it making a little profit. Then they bought a stucco house; chiseled the stucco off and put on asbestos siding; painted and wallpapered the inside and sold for a little profit. So began their lifelong partnership of reselling. As a team they bought right; did remodels themselves and made a little money each sale. Chip and Joanna Gaines could have learned from them!! Along with being very frugal and buying right they became comfortable in life after being very poor in their younger years. She never forgot what hard work it took to get them to this place. While Dad worked many hours Mom kept track of bills and expenses down to the penny. She spent hours finding the bests interest rates for their savings and enjoyed watching it grow. Dad praised her oversight on their finances to their life becoming easier as the years went by. They never believed in borrowing so always paid cash for what they bought. Even though they lived paycheck to paycheck in the early years she never felt she had to work outside the home. She worked as checker for a short time at a local grocery store after sister and I started school. After we left home Mom worked at AT&T on the manufacturing line for 17 years to feel like she was contributing. Mother and Dad were married almost 70 years. Like most couples, they weren't a perfect match in every way. Dad was a good provider and knew the value of a good buy. Mom was a wonderful homemaker and partner to Dad. They were opposites in personality and somehow made it work. They truly believed in the sanctity of their wedding vows. Dad passed away January 2, 2015, and Mom has missed him every day. Sis passed away July 25, 2011, and we have missed her so much. Mom passed away at the age of 93 on February 23, 2022. She will be missed by those who knew and loved her. She is survived by one sister, Irma Jean Zollicker; a daughter, Linda; four grandsons and 8 great grandchildren. I find comfort in knowing that Mom is now reunited with loved ones that have gone before. I will miss her but I am happy that she has joined Dad and Sis and is in God's loving arms. Mary's wishes were to be cremated. Graveside services will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, April 29, 2022 at Englewood Cemetery under the direction of the Bradley & Hadley Funeral Home, Clinton. The family suggests memorial contributions to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association. These donations may be left in care of the funeral home. Condolences and fond memories may be left online at bradleyhadley.com.