Mary Lois Barnes Barden was born in Hondo Texas on January 31, 1915 and in her 100th year began her heavenly eternal life on April 9, 2014. She is predeceased by her husband, John Earle Barden, her parents Theodore and Anna Pluck Barnes, and her granddaughter, Brenda Carol Scruggs.|
A beautiful and scholarly young woman, graduating as valedictorian from Hondo High School, she attended the University of Texas where she was a Bluebonnet Belle, and met John Earle. They were married on May 11, 1935 and began their 51 years together in the Aldine community, later moving into Garden Oaks in Houston. Returning to school, she earned both a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Houston.
Mary Lois' passion for teaching and devotion to her students was evident during her twenty plus years of teaching English in Houston at Reagan High School, moving to Waltrip High School when it opened and where she remained the rest of her career. A voracious reader, she was a student of literature and writer of poetry well into her nineties.
Her retirement years were filled with travel throughout the U.S. and the world, first with John Earle and after his death with her sister and friends. She was also an avid Elderhosteler. The scrapbooks of her travels are legendary within the family.
Mary Lois and her family were faithful and active members of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church from its founding years. Always the teacher, she taught the Older Youth Sunday School Class and MYF group for over three decades. And with her lovely alto voice she sang in the church choir. She loved her church family and most of her closest friends came from that fellowship.
Above all, Mary Lois loved her family. At family gatherings, her happiest moments were being surrounded by her "descendants"-children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She thrived on hearing about each and every one and was proud of their lives and the paths they had taken.
Mary Lois is survived by her sister, Evelyn Howard of Ft. Worth Texas; her son Jim and wife Bebe Barden of Hondo Texas; her daughters Sue, and husband Joe Dean Phipps of Houston; and Marianne and husband Ed Scruggs of Utopia Texas. She is also survived by nine grandchildren: Gentry, Jack, Lee and Lisa Barden; Joel and Maryanna Phipps and Emily Phipps Harwell; and Edward and Richard Scruggs. She also leaves thirteen great-grandchildren (with a fourteenth expected in May) and a first great-great-grandchild (due to arrive in July).
Mary Lois lived a full and rich life with no expressed regrets. She will be missed.
A private family burial service will occur at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery where she will be laid to rest next to her husband. A Memorial Service is planned for May 10 at 2:00 PM at St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, 4300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX 77018. Memorials may be sent to the Barden Scholarship Fund c/o St. Matthew's United Methodist Church. Visit www.DettlingFuneral.com to leave online tributes.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Apr. 13, 2014