Mary Foote Sturdivant passed away suddenly Wednesday afternoon, April 13th at the young age of 83. She had just returned from a cruise in the Caribbean with her daughter when she suffered a massive stroke.
She was loved and well thought of by everyone who knew her. Mary was beautiful, funny, graceful, intelligent, and generous, as well as a true “free spirit” who enjoyed exploring the world. She was an avid gardener, an artist and a voracious reader. She started each day reading the entire Wall Street Journal, always clipping articles she’d give to her many friends and children. She loved life, loved helping others, and showed her love for animals by adopting many and supporting dozens of animal charities.
Mary was born in Bluefield, West Virginia on January 31, 1933 during the Great Depression when her mother, Mary Douthat-Burgess owned and ran a boarding house and her step-father, Robert Lee Burgess, was an electrician who helped wire the state of Virginia. Mary attended Bluefield’s Beaver High School, then Stephens College for Women in Columbia, Mo. She later pursued secretarial training at Katherine Gibbs College in New York City. Her skills gave her an opportunity at an army base in Virginia where she met and later married Thomas Edwin Douglas, Jr. They moved to Memphis, TN and raised three children.
Mary later wed Edwin Sturdivant, and they chose to retire in Mountain City, Tennessee.
She was a continuous volunteer with the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Women, as well as instrumental in the establishment of Doe Mountain Recreation and Visitors Center. She was active in the environmental protection of the Johnson County ridgeline, was a continuous volunteer and contributor to the local Humane Society, and had served on the Board of Directors for the Senior Heating Fund, as well as the Johnson County Welcome Center. In 2014, she was given the Mack Wright “Citizen of the Year” award by the Chamber of Commerce, and in 2015 she was recipient of the Mary Ahrend’s “Volunteer of the Year” award. She will be greatly missed.
Mary leaves behind her three children, Lydia Douglas-Henderson of Memphis, TN (granddaughter Lauren Henderson-Jackson and husband Eric Jackson along with great-grandchildren Landon James Jackson and Harper Grace Jackson of Nesbit, MS), Benjamin Douglas of Memphis, TN and Scott Douglas of Brentwood, TN (wife Julia Douglas and grandchildren Dylan Douglas and Ethan Douglas). She also leaves behind three step-children, Leza Sturdivant-Kerr (husband Jon Kerr, and step-grandchildren Annie, Madeline and Christopher Kerr of Ft. Worth, TX), Victoria Sturdivant-McCoy (husband Mike McCoy of Memphis, TN) and Angela Sturdivant (husband Ken Staab of Atlanta, GA) Mary’s nieces and nephews from her late sister, Barbara Burgess-Wingfield, include Foote Wingfield- Lund, Willie Bob Wingfield, Amy Wingfield-Clark, Terry Lee Wingfield-Pomeroy, and Alan Wingfield.
An Episcopal Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 23 at 5:30pm at First United Methodist Church in Mountain City, TN.
Hux-Lipford Funeral Home and her dear friends are handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary, 977 Harbin Hill Road, Mountain City, TN 37683 and/or Senior Heating Fund of Johnson County, P.O. Box 208, Mountain City, TN 37683.