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Aug. 24, 1924-Jan. 21, 2011

Mary Williams Garris, 86, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, passed peacefully Friday morning at Kitty Askins Hospice Center.

A woman of strength, graciousness and faith, Mrs. Garris treasured her family and the time spent with them.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. at Garris Chapel United Methodist Church, with pastor Jerry Mitchell officiating.

The family will receive friends following the service. Interment will be Sunday at 2 p.m. in Wayne Memorial Park.

Daughter of the late Rev. Evan Gwilym and Alice Mary Matsell Williams, Mrs. Garris grew up in the Rosewood community, graduating with the highest class average her junior and senior years from Rosewood High School. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and graduated cum laude from Atlantic Christian College with a triple major in English, history and Spanish. She later completed her graduate degree from East Carolina University in education and library science.

She retired from Wayne County Public Schools with 32 years of service, and continued as a tutor until age 80.

Mrs. Garris was instrumental in bringing the Beta Club academic recognition organization to Wayne County.

Mrs. Garris was a published writer, and an avid reader of a broad spectrum of fiction and nonfiction.

She taught Sunday School at Daniels Memorial Methodist Church for many years.

She was one of the first open heart patients at Duke, baffling doctors with her resilience. Her abundant energy and love of life masked her health challenges. Complaint and self-indulgence were supplanted by her depth of character and warm spirit, easily recognized in her many acts of kindness and through her daily walk.

Mrs. Garris is survived by her son, Don Garris Jr. and wife, Karen; a daughter, Cathie Hooks and husband, Mike; four grandchildren, Michael Hooks Jr., and wife, Leigh, Jon Hooks and wife, Jenny, of Cary, Donell Garris III and Maryanne Garris; a great-grandson, Ryan Hooks; a brother-in-law, Joseph William "Jack" Garris; two sisters-in-law, Joyce Garris and Evelyn Garris Grant; and many wonderful nieces and nephews.

Her beloved husband of 60 years, Don Garris Sr.; a brother, Herbert Williams; and two sisters, Eleanor Williams Keel and Nellie Williams Edwards; preceded her in death.

The family would like to thank Dr. Firas Chazli, Mrs. Chazli, and Mercy Medical Clinic, Dr. Waheed Akhtar, Dr. David Frazier, the staff at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Kitty Askins Hospice Center, Mrs. Garris' special sitters, Maria Broadhurst, Felicia Davis and Carmencetta Davis, and companion and friend, Shirley Jones, for their exemplary and compassionate care of Mrs. Garris.

Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to the Wayne County Humane Society, 104 S. Center St., Goldsboro, N.C., 27530.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com.


Published in Obituaries on January 21, 2011 1:48 PM