Mary Katherine Pollan Stoker O'Brien(1926 - 2019)

Mary Katherine Pollan Stoker O'Brien

Memphis - Mary Kay O'Brien was born Sept. 10, 1926, in Memphis, TN, to Charles and Birdie Lee Haire Pollan and passed away May 12, 2019, at the age of 92. Mary was the middle child of 10 children: five brothers: Charles, Frank, Howard, Aubrey, and John, and four sisters: Dorothy Pollan, Margaret McCarthy, Jewel Parsons, and Grace Savoie. All preceded her in death with the exception of her sister Jewel who lives in Rancho Mirage, CA.

There was always a lot of excitement and mischief in such a large household. Yet, Mary's parents maintained order out of this chaos by teaching love of Jesus and obedience to God's Word, which included obeying them.

Because Mary K showed an interest in music at an early age, her dad bought her a piano and found a teacher who came to the house before school for lessons. Mary K learned quickly and was soon playing piano for her church, First Pentecostal Holiness Church, which is now Compassion Church, on Houston Levee in Collierville TN. Mary K was the oldest surviving member of her church when she passed.

Mary K graduated from South Side High School in 1944. During her senior year, she met her future husband, Charles Edward Stoker. They fell in love and eloped on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 5, 1944, in Hernando, MS, a popular marrying place during the WWII years. Five years later, they welcomed their only child, Sandra Gayle. Mary K made life fun teaching her all the childhood games- Jacks, Pick-up Sticks, along with sewing and playing the piano. She took her to church and started her singing in the choir as a young child.

Mary K and Charles enjoyed 57 years together, with Mary K using her bookkeeping, typing, and shorthand skills in their furniture store- Stoker Furniture, located at Bellevue and McLemore, making many friends in Optimist Clubs, The Gavel Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Sphinx Society Cotton Carnival Club, traveling to Japan, Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Charles passed away in 2002.

Four years later, Mary K met Larry O'Brien while she was visiting a sister church. And the courtship began. They married the next Spring. Mary K and Larry spent the next 13 years together attending church, traveling the USA, and enjoying their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Larry was a devoted husband to her- caring for her so patiently as her health declined.

Mary K leaves her husband, Larry O'Brien, her daughter, Sandra Steele, and husband Boyd, her step-daughter, Leisa Irwin, her granddaughter, Amy Shumate, and husband Clayton, and great-granchildren- Addison and Maddox Shumate as well as many nieces and nephews, step-children, step-granchildren and step-great-granchildren.

Mary K's life was full of love: for God, of family, and of friends.

A special thank you to Magnolia Creek Long-Term Care in Covington, TN and Midtown Center Long-Term Care in Memphis for the loving and compassionate way they helped Mama and our family during this sad time. Visitation will be held Thursday, May 16, from 5-7 PM and Service Friday, May 17 at 10:00 AM both held at Forrest Hill Midtown, 1661 S Elvis Presley Blvd. Memphis, TN 38106. Any memorials may be given to Compassion Church, 3505 Houston Levee Rd. Collierville, TN 38138.




Published in The Commercial Appeal on May 15, 2019