Mary Worscheh
1929 - 2020
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Mary Ruth (Boney) Worscheh
Mary Ruth (Boney) Worscheh passed away peacefully late on Christmas evening after having celebrated a lifetime of quiet achievements in both family and professional settings. She blazed a trail uncommon for women in the 1950s, serving as a strong model for her three granddaughters and teaching them that glass ceilings are made to be broken.
Born to Susan Lena (Stewart) Boney and William Arthur Boney in the Grimes County town of Iola, Texas, on August 4, 1929, Mary grew up a child of the Depression. Together with her seven brothers and sisters, however, the Boney family remained fortunate as one of the area's civic leaders. The Boney general merchandise and dry goods store, bank, cotton gin and other businesses helped stabilize the farming community during difficult times. The family also played an active role in the Iola Missionary Baptist Church, an institution that still thrives today.
Mary graduated as Vice President of the Iola High School Class of 1945, matriculating to Baylor University in Waco, where she graduated with a BA in 1949. Unwilling to accept traditional female roles, she joined Foley Bros. as an executive trainee at the newly opened 1110 Main St. headquarters – the nation's "most modern department store." She was quickly promoted to Department Manager, Handbags & Accessories, affording her the opportunity to fly to New York and Europe several times a year to buy luxury leather goods for the flagship store.
When charged with organizing Foley's Christmas party in 1958, Mary negotiated an aggressive all-in deal (yes, shrimp included!) with Erik J. Worscheh, the dapper, German-accented Banquet Manager at Houston's posh Shamrock Hilton Hotel, and the spark was lit. They began dating soon after and married in December 1959. Global travel – including to Erik's homeland of Bohemia in Czechoslovakia and Bavaria in Germany – became a feature of their marriage.
Mary and Erik had a son, Mark, in 1963, launching a different phase of life. Mary shifted to teaching, focusing on "Distributive Education" (i.e. retailing) at the then-suburban Lee High School and other HISD schools. She later worked independently as a fabrics rep before returning to Foley's as Fashion Division Manager in 1969. By then, Erik had moved to Judge Roy Hofheinz's Astrodomain hotel complex before becoming GM of the Petroleum Club in 1973, which allowed them to continue their love of discovery and fine dining.
A desire to spend more days at home led to a shift to real estate in 1973, when Mary joined Madeline O'Brien Realtors, then one of Houston's emerging luxury brokerages. She combined her real estate and professional management experience in the last chapter of her career, serving as GM of the Bayou Bend Condominium in 1985 and retiring in 1994. She remained active in many local causes, including the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, The Council on Recovery, and Theresians International. Further travel memories included frequent trips to Europe, including for the 1992 London wedding of Mark to Sue Mullen and countless joyous Boney family reunions.
Mary is survived by her son Mark and his wife Sue of Houston, Texas, and her granddaughters Hannah, Sophie and Amy, along with her sister Melba Wells of Sugar Land, Texas, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Erik in 2011.
Mary would like to extend thanks to her friends who were able to celebrate her 90th birthday at The Briar Club last year, including many from their Hammersmith neighborhood home of more than 30 years. The family thanks Rumy, Mary and all the caregivers at Accessible Home Health who made her final years so enjoyable. When the pandemic passes, the family will arrange a celebratory event to honor Mary. For remembrances, donations in memory of Mary would be appreciated at the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, the Erik Worscheh Scholarship Fund at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel School, or to a charity of your choice.

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Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 3, 2021.
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