• "Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult..."
    - Whidden-McLean Funeral Home - Bartow


BARTOW - Mary Ella Sumner Wilson, age 92, passed away September 8, 2018. She was a resident of Bartow since 2003, moving from Arcadia, Florida.
Mary was born on December 27, 1925 in Boyette, Florida to Emma (Simmons) and Julius 'Julie' Sumner. She was the baby of five children, born into a pioneer cattle ranching family of more than 5 generations. Mary owned cattle nearly her entire lifetime, until she retired from ranching in 2003. She was a member of the Florida Cattlemen's Association for many years. A few of her cattle still live at Lucky Seven W Farms in Washington, Georgia where her youngest daughter, Etwenda (Tink) Wade, continues the family cattle ranching legacy. In her mid-twenties, Mary left the family farm to pursue her career in business in downtown Tampa. She attended classes at the University of Tampa, learning secretarial skills and worked as a secretary with Fogarty Brothers. She returned home each weekend to help her parents on the ranch. Mary's devotion to her family, especially her three girls, was second only to her devotion to her Lord Jesus.
She always served in the church, teaching Sunday School, leading youth groups, and working in women's ministry. She was a longtime member of Highlands Church of God in Lakeland, Florida. Her pastors, Kent and Cindy Rogers were a part of the youth group she led in the early years at the Wimauma Church of God. The latter years of Mary's life have been spent living with her devoted daughter and son-in-law, Emma and Lamar Collins.
Through difficult years of illness, she never lost her passion for God or her desire to help people. She mentored many and opened her heart to everyone who came around seeking comfort or advice.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband: William A. 'Billy' Wilson.
She is survived by four daughters: Denise Earnest of Orlando, Emma Collins (Lamar) of Bartow, Etwenda Wade (Tim) of Washington, GA, and Vicky James (Bobby Joe) of Tuscaloosa, AL; two steps-sons, Dale Wilson (Judith) of Avon Park, and Ronnie Wilson (Debbie) of Sumter, SC; 14 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and her devoted caregivers: Anzie Norris, Joanna Roberts, Amber Farrer and Sissy Johnson.
Family will receive friends Saturday, September 15, 2018, from 10-11 AM at Whidden-McLean Funeral Home, Bartow; funeral services will follow at 11 AM at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Lakeland Highlands Church of God, or . Condolences to family at

Funeral Home
Whidden-McLean Funeral Home - Bartow
650 E. Main Street
Bartow, FL 33830
Published in Ledger from Sept. 12 to Sept. 13, 2018
Search Obituaries & Guest Books
You are searching
Powered by