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Mary Ida Ray Kensinger was born in Butler, TN on January 6, 1914 and passed on August 3, 2011 at Wellmont Bristol Hospice. She was raised in Mountain City, TN. Mary attended East Tennessee State University where she earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Mrs. Kensinger worked for many years as the office manager for the Tennessee State Employment Service both in Johnson City and in Rogersville. She also worked for a number of years as the office manager of Hawkins County Memorial Hospital followed by 12 years as librarian at H.B. Stamps Memorial Library. In 1975, Mrs. Kensinger retired.
Mary Ray married J.C. Kensinger on September 15, 1945. They made Rogersville their home for the remainder of their lives.
A very talented and creative woman, Mrs. Kensinger wrote and acted in an outdoor drama, “Davey Crockett,” which was performed for five years at the Rogersville Bicentennial Pageant. She was an avid genealogist with particular interest in Hawkins County families. She spent several decades researching and cataloging deaths in Hawkins County compiling material for the Historical Society there.
Mrs. Kensinger was also an avid bridge player well into her 97th year.
She and her husband were members of Rogersville Presbyterian Church where Mrs. Kensinger served in a number of capacities with the Women of the Church. She was also a member of the Hawkins County Genealogical and Historical Society.
In 2004, Mrs. Kensinger received the ETSU Outstanding Alumna award. She was listed in the 1981-82 Who’s Who of American Women and was charter president of the Rogersville Business & Professional Women’s Club. She also established the J.C. Kensinger Memorial Scholarship Endowment at ETSU in memory of her late husband.
Mrs. Kensinger was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Todd Ray and Bessie Trivett Ray; brother, Boyd Sam Ray; and sister, Margaret Ray Dillon, all of Mountain City. She is survived by a stepdaughter, Jann Kensinger Walker, Jonesville, Virginia; nieces, Suzanne Ray Cox of Abingdon, Virginia, Libby Ray Talton of Mountain City; and nephew, Dr. Joseph Alan Ray, Mountain City.
Funeral services for Mrs. Kensinger was held on Saturday afternoon, August 6, at 2PM at Rogersville Presbyterian Church. The family received friends beginning at 1PM. Burial was in McKinney Cemetery, Rogersville.
The family would like to thank Mrs. Kensinger’s caregivers, Billy Coffey and Charlotte Caldwell, for the wonderful job they did during her last years.
Those who wish to remember Mrs. Kensinger may do so through the Hawkins County Genealogical and Historical Society. P.O. Box 429, Rogersville, TN 37857 or through the Scholarship Fund at Rogersville Presbyterian Church, 309 West Kyle St. Rogersville, TN 37857
Online condolences may be sent to
Colboch-Price Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.