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Mrs. Lillian Irene Stafford Gary, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, passed away on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at the Craighead Nursing Ctr. in Jonesboro, AR. She was born on October 19, 1920 in Ingrams Mill, MS.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John Davis Stafford and Sallie Stafford; her husband, William Howard Gary; brothers, Stanley Oneal Stafford and Edgar Stafford; and sisters, Claudie Stephens and Margaret Crumpler; a grandson, Phillip Gary of Palm Bay, FL.
She is survived by a daughter, Judy Lynn Gary Wetherbee and husband, Doug of Reno, NV; sons, William Hugh Gary and wife, Sue Ellen of Melbourne, FL, and David Phillip Gary and wife, Sara of Jonesboro, AR; one granddaughter, Shelby Davis of Murfreesboro, TN; three grandsons, Howie Gary of Palm Bay, FL, Clint Wetherbee of Portland, OR and Luke Wetherbee of MD.
She grew up working on a farm in Ingrams Mill, MS, married there, and had three children (all born at home) while farming with her husband. She and her husband moved to Memphis in 1957, and raised two of her children there while working as a housewife and retail clerk at DixieMart, Davids Home Fashions and Goldsmiths.
After retirement, she and her husband moved to Jonesboro, AR to be with family. She was a devoted wife and mother who worked hard and loved her children and grandchildren. She was an avid reader, and her special interests were books about the south and southern authors.
The hardscrabble existence that she experienced growing up in Rural Mississippi during the Depression served her well in her later life. She was strong of mind and spirit and overcame many hardships, both financial and medical during her lifetime which included being a 30 year cancer survivor.
She was Christian by faith and Baptist by denomination. A member of Walnut St. Baptist Church, though unable to attend regularly being a resident of Craighead Nursing Ctr. for the past 7 years.
The family will receive friends from 1:30 pm until service time at 2:30 pm, Friday the 11th at Memorial Park Funeral Home in Memphis.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY on May 11, 2012