Martha Lee Lyles Wilson
Martha Lee Lyles Wilson was born on January 19, 1922, in Tula, Mississippi, the youngest child, and only daughter, of S.T. and Eunice Lyles. After a long life well lived, Mrs. Wilson died on February 20, 2016, in Jackson, surrounded by loved ones. Her husband, Earl Raymond Wilson, and a son-in-law, John Harbour Mounger, predeceased her.
Her father, a country doctor, moved his family to Oxford when she was eight years old, and she was graduated from University High School and the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of the Phi Mu sorority and the University Chorus, and named a "favorite" by the student body. After graduation, she worked in Memphis for American Airlines until she married her childhood sweetheart and they moved to Brookhaven, where Mrs. Wilson taught school and Mr. Wilson began working in the fields of oil and law.
Several years in Prentiss followed, and they settled in Jackson in 1956. Soon after their arrival they became involved in the community, helping to found Briarwood United Methodist Church. Briarwood was an integral part of the Wilsons' lives for several decades, and they considered the congregation as family.
Mrs. Wilson had an abiding concern for the welfare of others, and she enjoyed working with such organizations as Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army, serving as president of both groups' volunteer auxiliaries and receiving their Volunteer of the Year awards. In addition, she was named Outstanding Woman of Achievement by the March of Dimes Foundation. Mrs. Wilson was also president of the PTA at McWillie Elementary School and Murrah High School. With her husband, a founder of the Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center, Mrs. Wilson helped organize the volunteer auxiliary for the Rehab Center. Later she served as a member of the board of trustees for the Center's Wilson Research Foundation. Along the way, Mrs. Wilson was appointed to the boards of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Mississippi Opera, Wood College, and the Methodist Children's Home. She also served on the foundation at the Methodist Church's Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Center at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. For years she was active in the Jackson Phi Mu Alumnae Association, DAR, Maids and Matrons, High Noon, the Jackson Symphony, and Hinds County Lawyers Wives.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were humbled to be honored as People of Vision by the Mississippi Society for the Prevention of Blindness, and to receive the William B. Seals Laity Award from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in recognition of their tireless efforts on behalf of the Methodist Church.
In her later years, Mrs. Wilson enjoyed attending University High School reunions in Oxford, visiting the Chautauqua Institution in New York, doing genealogical research, and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her three daughters: Ann Hamblett Wilson Holifield and her husband, Henry; Virginia Lee Wilson Mounger; and Amy Lyles Wilson Granberry and her husband, Henry; her grandchildren: Wilson Thaddeus Holifield and his wife, Jennifer; Lyles Henry Holifield and his wife, Katelyn; Martha Grace Gray and her husband, Matt; and Mary Milam Granberry; and her great-grandchildren: Cameron Grace Holifield, Robert Wilson Gray, Ann Lyles Gray, and Parker Marie Holifield.
The Wilson girls thank the staff of St. Catherine's Village for their kind attention over the years, and will remain forever indebted to Mary Mitchell, whose care and tending of their precious mother resulted in a devoted friendship that enriched the entire family.
Visitation will take place at Parkway Funeral Home on Monday, February 22, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The funeral is set for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 23, at Briarwood United Methodist Church. Mrs. Wilson will be laid to rest next to her husband in St. Peter's Cemetery in Oxford, where her parents, brothers, and generations of other relatives on both sides of the family are also buried.
In honor of Mrs. Wilson's longtime dedication to the mission of the Methodist Rehabilitation Center, the family requests memorials to the Wilson Research Foundation, 1350 E. Woodrow Wilson Drive, Jackson, MS 39216.