Dr. Maple Leroy Avery passed away at his home in Burnet, Texas on August 25 at the age of 80 after a courageous struggle with brain cancer. He was born in El Paso, Texas on November 4, 1930. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, formerly Iva Jo Johnson of Brady,
Texas. They were childhood sweethearts graduating together from Brady High. Surviving children are Jan Avery Gaut and husband Tommy Gaut of Burnet, Texas, Dr. Graham Avery and his wife, Mary Jane of Beaumont, Texas, and Kenda Avery Blikre and her husband, Wayne Blikre, of Miami, Florida. He had one grandchild, Alexandra Miles Avery.
Maple Avery started life as an orphan, living with his adopted grandmother in Brady and graduating from Brady High in 1948. He had accepted a call to the ministry at the age of 14 and while studying at Howard Payne and then Baylor University, he pastored at several churches including a small Baptist church in Padgitt, and Plainview Baptist Church near Colorado City. In June of 1951 he was called to the East Fourth Street Baptist Church in Big Spring and pastored
there as he completed his degree at Baylor University, graduating "cum laude" in 1956. Other pastorates followed, First Baptist Levelland and then University Baptist in Abilene.
From Abilene he moved to Galveston where he made a life changing career choice by entering medical school at University of Texas Medical Branch and receiving his medical degree with highest honors in 1965. After an internship at Baptist Hospital in Houston he spent
several years working as a general practitioner in Cleveland and Conroe, Texas. The specialty of ophthalmology held special fascination for him so at 41, he applied and was accepted in the
residency program at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston at the Hermann Eye Center. He received his certification after three years and returned to Conroe where he practiced
ophthalmology for 30 years finishing his career at the Avery Eye Center.
His life is best summed up by a quote from a letter from an old friend. "Surely no one else started out with so little, worked so hard, accomplished so much, and did so much good in this world."
Special thanks go to his caregivers for the last few months who made his life more comfortable in a difficult time. From Circle of Hands we wish to recognize Jay Gibson, Yadira Arreguin, Richard Hood, Jennifer Jones, and owner, Debra Kelly. Many thanks also to Don
Berryhill and Sandy Hahn from Life Made Easy Home HealthCare as well as Seton Highland Lakes Home Health/Hospice.
The memorial service is to be held at 3:00 PM at Walnut Methodist Church in Round Mountain, Texas on September 3, 2011 with an outdoor reception to follow. Directions are one mile west on 3347 from the 3347 intersection with 962. Walnut church is truly a "little brown church in the vale".
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his honor to The Hermann Eye Fund, 6400 Fannin Street, Suite 1800, Houston, Texas 77030.
Please offer condolences to www.clementswilcoxburnet.com.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 31, 2011