Mary Atkins Dixon Montague passed away after a long illness on February 10, 2013. She was born November 17, 1928, in Monroe, Louisiana, the daughter of Harold Hart Dixon and Margaret Theus Atkins Dixon. She attended Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Sophie Newcomb College (majoring in Art History), the University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi (majoring in Political Science and American and European History). In 1948 she married Frank D. Montague, Jr., of Hattiesburg. After brief residencies in Oxford, Mississippi, and Midland, Texas, the couple returned to Hattiesburg, where they raised their family and Mary earned English and History degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a degree from the New York School of Interior Design. She was an art dealer and Associate with International Fine Arts Association in New Orleans. She delighted in her acquaintances with artists, as well as interesting characters of all sorts, and enjoyed guiding friends and clients across the country and abroad in the curating of their personal and corporate art collections. She founded and operated Brass Key Gift Shop for many years with Mrs. Mildred Puckett and Mrs. Rachael Sigler. She was an exuberant traveler, an avid reader, and a gracious and accomplished amateur chef and hostess whose beauty and refined manner indulged a sharp wit, mischievous spirit, and contagious joie de vivre.
A unique creation, astonishingly talented, with an inquiring mind, she was gregarious and lovingly supportive of all ages. As part of her Teaching Certificate she taught at Thames school.She was a quintessential "Auntie Mame" to her grandchildren. Widely appreciated for her knowledge of art and history, her generous and inquiring spirit, selflessness and thoughtfulness of others, she served on the Advisory Board of the New Orleans Museum of Art, was a founding member of the Hattiesburg Arts Council and a member of the Junior Auxiliary.
She was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church and active in the youth programsand Sunday evening fellowship. Prior to her marriage she was a communicant of TrinityEpiscopal Church and always maintained a deep appreciation for its ministry and friends in Trinity.
She faced life's challenges with strength and quiet courage. She was predeceased by her father, Harold H. Dixon, her mother, Margaret Atkins Dixon,and her brother, Harold Dixon, Jr.
She is survived by her husband of 64 and a half years, Frank Montague, three lawyer sons, F.Douglas Montague, III of Hattiesburg (Becky Smart), Harold Dixon Montague of Houston, Texas (Suzanne Rainey), and Brian Atkins Montague of Hattiesburg (Leigh Ann Sackler), five grandchildren, Douglas McKenzie Montague, Brett Atkins Montague, Catherine Atkins Montague, Reid Atkins Montague and Austin Richard Montague, a step-granddaughter, Kelli Cefalu, a sister-in-law, Mrs. Wirt A. Yerger, Jr. (Mary) and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 15, at Trinity Episcopal Church, with visitation in the parish hall on Thursday from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m and one hour prior to the service on Friday. The family wishes to express its appreciation to Trinity Episcopal Church for use of its facilities because of tornado damage to Westminster Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mary and Frank Montague Fund at the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation, Newcomb College Art Gallery, New Orleans Museumof Art, or a charity, church, or institution of higher learning.
Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home in Hattiesburg, MS is in charge of arrangements.