Mary Frances Gauntt Townsend passed from this earth to her Heavenly home on November 25th, 2020 at the age of 94. She was born in Rochester, Texas to Myrtle (Carothers) and Floyd Gauntt on March 7, 1926. She graduated from Rule High School in 1943, and attended Trinity University for two years, until marrying her high school sweetheart, Vernon Townsend, on September 21, 1945, in Rule. They were blessed with twins, Kenny and Cathy in 1949, and with Tommy in 1951. Because of Vernon's coaching jobs, the family lived in Snyder, Vernon, Baird, Roscoe, and finally in Roby, where Vernon was the school principal until his death in 1978. She moved to Abilene the following year and remained there until her death.
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Mary was a stay at home mom until the children were in school. Then she substituted in every school system in the towns where they lived. After she moved to Abilene, she was employed full time by AISD as a teacher's aid. She retired in 1991. She was proud to purchase and pay for her own home on her own. In 2011, at age 85, as part of her long range plan, she moved to Wesley Court. She moved to Lyndale Memory Care in July, 2020.
Mary was a world traveler and enjoyed many trips after her retirement. She was very active in her church, First Central Presbyterian Church, which she joined in 1979. She was a deacon, as well as a Stephen Minister. She made many close friends at the church and loved attending Sunday school and church regularly. She was a docent at the Grace and loved the Philharmonic. She was involved also with Hope Haven. She enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, and playing bridge with friends anytime she was asked, as well as at the Abilene Woman's Club, where she was a member.
Mary was so blessed to have two younger sisters, and they remained very close until her death. Anytime they were together, there was always a lot of bossing each other around, and so much laughter. They enjoyed many trips and reunions together. She thought she wanted her grandchildren to call her Grandmother, but as that was too hard to say, her name was shortened to Mermer, and then simply to Merm. She decided that name was absolutely fine with her.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband and her parents.
Mary is survived by her three children: Kenny (Joyce) of San Antonio, Cathy Black (Bobby) of Abilene, and Tommy (Lana) of Lubbock: sisters Alice Smith of Sherman and Lucy Williams of Lubbock. She was blessed with seven grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. She is also
survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Also surviving her is her wonderful friend and travel partner, Sally Carthel. Mary appreciated Sally's frequent cards and calls until the very end.
A Memorial service will held at a later date. There will be no visitation. A private family graveside service will be held at the Rule Cemetery with arrangements made by North's Funeral Home, 242 Orange St. Abilene, TX. On November 29, 2020 at 1:30pm. Because of Covid precautions, we ask that masks be worn at all times. Instead of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to First Central Presbyterian Church, 400 Orange St., Abilene, TX., 79601, or to the donor's favorite charity.
The family would like to thank Hospice of the Big Country and Lyndale Memory Care for their care of Mary during these last few weeks Special thanks go to Ashley F. and Paige at Lyndale, and Christina from Comfort keepers. Online condolences may be made at www.northsfuneralhome.com