Mary Elizabeth Walling of Shawnee, Kansas, passed away on May 25th. She was born in Breckenridge, Texas, the only child of Florance Hogue and Walter Riley Ayres. Her father worked in the oil fields of west Texas leading the family to Denver City where Mary graduated from high school. She entered Texas State College for Women (now Texas Women’s University) where she earned a degree in Sociology with minors in drama and history.
While attending college in Denton, Mary met M. L. Walling who was enrolled at North Texas State University. Upon graduation, Mary took a position at Juliette Fowler Home where she became the Home’s first social worker, working to provide foster care for children. Mary and M. L. married on May 29, 1950 and moved to Waxahachie, Texas. Through the years, M. L.’s work took the family to Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Bedford, Texas, before they made their final retirement home in Shawnee, Kansas.
In time, they would have four children: Carolyn, Gary, Dale, and Mary, to whom Mary devoted most of her time and energy. She was a leader and organizer for the Camp Fire Girls organization, a church youth sponsor, and a spectator at countless Little League games and school programs; in addition, she drove more carpool miles than she could tell you.
Mary held membership in several organizations: P. E. O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) and the Alumni Association of Texas Women’s University. The deepest commitments of Mary’s life were to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where she was a lifetime member. She served local congregations in many capacities, most notably as a leader and consultant in the Christian Women’s Fellowship.
Mary was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 65 years, M. L. Walling and her daughter-in-law, Linda (Queenie) Walling. She is survived by her children: Carolyn (Michael) Reedy, Gary (Linda) Walling, Dale Walling, and Mary (Andrew) Fry. In addition, she has 10 grandchildren: Walter (Angie) Reedy, Laura (Ches) Stewart, Max Walling, Sam (Kayla) Walling, Kristen (Jeff) Walling, Ryan (Ali) Walling, Jared Fry, Lindsey Fry, Jordan Davis, and Jennifer Davis; as well as 5 great-grandchildren: Asher, Amelie, and Asa Reedy, and Sarah and Ella Stewart.
Family services in celebration of Mary’s life will be held on July 2 at 10am at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66210. Those wishing to honor Mary are invited to make contributions to the Chestnut Fine Arts Center, 234 N. Chestnut St., Olathe, KS 66061, or to the M L and Mary Walling Endowment Fund of the Christian Church Foundation, P. O. Box 1007, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1007. Online Donations may be made respectively at
http://www.chestnutfinearts.com/donate-to-the-chestnut.html and Payment (eservicepayments.com. Mary and her family are appreciative of the loving care she received from Melanie Clover and her staff at the Clover Care Home in Shawnee where Mary lived since January, 2021.