Mary Fussell

Published 12:47 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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Mary Nell Singleton Fussell died peacefully at her home in Picayune, Miss., on April 16, 2021, at the age of 91. She was surrounded by her loved ones. Mary Nell was born in Georgetown, Miss., on Dec. 17, 1929, to Theodore and Effie Yates Singleton. Shortly after her birth, her father relocated the family to the Enon community, where he was employed as a steam locomotive engineer for Great Southern Lumber Company. Mary Nell grew up and remained a part of that community for life.

As a child, Mary Nell had a thirst for learning and became an avid reader. She was befriended by two of her childhood teachers, the late Ms. Ruby Shoemaker and late Ms. Stella Knight, who encouraged her love of reading and kindly allowed her to borrow books. Although she had many chores as a child, she recalled sneakng away to climb her favorite tree and read her borrowed books. Reading opened her eyes to a world outside her own small one; and she dreamed of becoming a teacher. Upon graduation from Enon High School, although with very meager means, she worked her way through college at LSU. There she received a BS in Education and eventually her Masters plus thirty hours. She began a long teaching career in Washington Parish with her first teaching position at Pine High School in the early 1950’s. Over her extensive career in education, she taught at Enon High School, Franklinton High School, Valley Forge and Bowling Green. Mary Nell instructed and encouraged many young Washington Parish students in English and grammar, and shared her love of books as librarian.

Mary Nell had a deep faith in the Lord. She was baptized in Bogue Chitto River at the “swim hole” beside the Enon river bridge on June 11, 1939. From that day forward, she was a lifelong member of Enon Baptist Church. She served in many capacities including church secretary and Sunday School teacher for many years.

She was married to J.M. Fussell on April 19, 1953. J.M. and Mary Nell were together 66 wonderful years, before his passing in 2019. They shared a common of love of the Lord, gardening, literature, and family.

Throughout her life, her passions were learning and helping others. She was a wonderful, kind mother who put her family before herself. She loved holidays, helping anyone in need, cooking, reading and her beautiful yard and flowers.

Mary Nell was preceded in death by her parents, Theodore and Effie Yates Singleton of Enon; her husband, J.M. Fussell of Franklinton; and siblings, Helen, Thelma, Bonnie, Maudeen, Shelton, Donald Wayne, T.D, and Edward Ray.

She is survived by John and Deidra Fussell of Bush; Dr. Stephanie Fussell and Dr. Beverly Faust of Picayune; brother, James Singleton and wife Myrtle of Franklinton; grandchildren, Molly and Bradley Peck of Madisonville, John Tyler and Brittany Fussell of Texarkana, Texas; and great-granddaughter, Ella Blake Peck of Madisonville.

The family is grateful for the care provided Mary Nell by Tender Hands Home Care and Canon Hospice of Gulfport, Miss., as well as her Nurse Practitioner Ashely Skaggs of Bay St. Louis, Miss. Special thanks also to Dr. Allison Wall of Gulfport for her compassion and friendship to Mary Nell and family over the years

Mary Nell’s life was celebrated in her beloved childhood community of Enon with services on Monday, April 19, at Enon Baptist Church. Visitation was from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m., with services following. She was buried in the Knight Gardens of Enon Baptist Church, with the Rev. Chris Wheeler and the Rev. Leon Hickman officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Enon Baptist Church.

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