Mary Ethel Reeder Barr, beloved wife, mother, Mamaw, sister, aunt, daughter and friend, passed from her earthly home on Saturday, July 11, 2020 in George West, Texas, after a long and abundant life. Born to Don T.C. Reeder and Mary Frances Pope Reeder on August 12, 1930, in Valley Mills, Texas, she was raised in Hearne, Texas with her four adoring brothers, Don Reese, Leland Rex, Thomas Langdon and William Ralph and three cousins GB, Blanche, and Donnie Dale who also lived in the family home. Mary’s paternal grandmother also lived with the family and Mary often regaled us with stories of living with Granny Reeder. She grew up surrounded by extended family and she and her cousins became the best of friends. As a teenager, she worked as a soda jerk at Hoyt’s Drugstore in Hearne and here are some legendary stories about motorcycles and hitchhiking, too!
Her parents moved to Robstown, Texas in 1948 and it was there in January 1949 that Mary met the love of her life, Danny William Barr, a Florida fellow that was serving in the US Navy. According to Danny, he decided that night he would marry her and told his friend who was with him that he would be the best man. And on May 19, 1949, Danny and Mary married and began a 60 year adventure of life and love.
Mary and Danny started their life and family together in Corpus Christi before moving to the Banquete area. Four children were born during those years, Don, Brenda, Reed and Glenda. Mary kept busy with kids, church, PTA, March of Dimes, sewing for family and friends (and twirlers and cheerleaders at Banquete High School), bowling, dancing with Danny, and even selling Tupperware for a while. But first, she made sure she finished high school, earning her diploma from Banquete High School in 1949 through correspondence course, as married (and pregnant) women were not allowed to attend school. Family life was always her priority and many barbecues and picnics were hosted by Mary and Danny. Family Christmas celebrations were amazing, compete with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, scrumptious food and her sewn-with-love gifts.
In 1968, she and Danny moved their family to Fairview, Montana for a grand 15 year adventure while he worked at a new gas-processing plant. Again, family life took precedence and she continued her involvement with her children’s school and activities. While there, she and Danny hosted a foreign exchange student from Denmark, Olav, who soon became their son of the heart. She took cooking jobs at Johnny’s and The Powder Keg to help send the kids to college. Sometime around 1972, Mary became the managing editor of The Fairview News, a position in which she excelled: reporter, type-setter, lay-out editor, headline-writer, photographer, investigator, sales rep, and delivery person. Whatever needed to be done, she did it. The weekly paper thrived under her leadership and she won numerous awards for her photographs and her column “Mary’s Meanderings”.
1983 brought a move back to South Texas and she and Danny moved to the lake near Lagarto. Danny continued working in gas-processing and Mary became the secretary of LVCIA. After retiring in 1994, they began another grand adventure, traveling the United States in their RV. Not only did they visit their kids in Montana, Kansas and Wyoming, but family in Florida, Alabama, Reeder relatives in Tennessee, as well as 3 trips to Alaska and to many other states. Life-long friendships and many memories were made. They traveled until 2007, when Danny’s health began to decline. Mary continued by his side, caring for him until his passing in 2010.
No story about Mary’s life would complete without mentioning her love for and organization of the Reeder Family Reunion, where she would revel in the joy of being with her “Cousins by the Dozens”. Her Reeder Reunion pickles were a coveted door prize! She enjoyed cooking and even self-published a cookbook “Reeder Family Favorites”. Passionate about genealogy, she and Danny tromped through many cemeteries, visited libraries all over the country, and spent countless hours recording their ancestors information. Visits with her almost always included a photo session, with her singing “Smile awhile” while snapping the photo. Creative arts remained a huge part of her life - sewing, painting, crafting, crocheting and quilting all brought her great joy, especially when she was creating a gift for a loved one. Her creative spirit demanded many trips to Walmart and Hobby Lobby.
Mary was a vibrant, spunky, caring and loving woman. She loved her God, her family and her country. She took great pride in her family and loved them deeply. Being Mom/Mama/Mother/Mamaw/Aunt Mary gave her so much happiness; she delighted in bestowing her little “love gifts and s’prises.”
Preceding her in death are her husband Danny, her parents, her four brothers and great-grandson Camden J. Leatherberry. She leaves behind a beautiful legacy in her beloved children, Don (Iris)Barr, Brenda (Ray)Landsiedel, Reed (Lisa)Barr and Glenda(Richard)Martin and her Danish son Olav Classen; her adored grandchildren, Trevor (Crystal)Barr, Desiree(Liz)Barr-Lopez, Justin (Marcella)Barr, Jillian (Danny)Dike, Jacob (Chanel)Barr, Joel Barr, Peter (Emily)Landsiedel, Joshua Leatherberry, Jared (Ashleigh)Martin, and Jayna (Ben)Tully; and her precious great-grandchildren Tylor, Caylynn, and Caleb Barr, Jett and Jovi Barr-Lopez, Gavin and Landen Howe, Ryder and Kynlee Barr, Liam, Silas and Brecken Dike, Sloane Barr, Lillie and Haylie Martin, and Jace Tully. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as sisters-in-law, Eva Doris Reeder and Elizabeth Lisenby and brothers-in-law, Donald E. Barr and Jack Pittman.
A viewing will be held at Sawyer-George Funeral home in Corpus Christi on Monday, July 20 from 5-7 p.m. Graveside services will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 9:00 a.m. at Robstown Memorial Park with her cousin Raymond Goodwin officiating and cousin Laverne Smithas vocalist. Face masks and social distancing will be required.
The family expresses their gratitude to all who touched Mary’s life during her 89 years and 11 months. The staff at Live Oak Nursing and Rehabilitation in George West provided a loving, caring and special environment in which Mary(aka Memaw) lived since October 2018. We are forever grateful to you all.
Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association or American Cancer Association or a charity of your choice. Children’s charities also had a special special place in her heart.
Mama, we love you “a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck” - always and forever.