Mary Mann Wilson, 92, died peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, at her home in the Brookdale Meadowmont Community in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Until 2013, Mary lived for 30 years in Blacksburg with her husband and the love of her life, Colonel Gene Frederick Wilson. Gene died in July 2013.
Mary was born in Indian Mound, Stewart County, Tenn., and was the daughter of Noah McGregor Mann and Addie May Mann. She was predeceased by her siblings Roy, John, Rex, Lindy and Brenda.
Mary dedicated her life to family. She gave unwavering support to Gene in his military career, which took the family on many adventures around the globe. She was devoted to her children and took delight in watching them grow, marry and have families of their own. Her happiest moments were creating festive gatherings at her home, the beach, skiing or anywhere the family was all together.
She is survived by her three children and their spouses, whom she loved as her own children: Bruce Wilson (Cathy) of Danville, Va., Dennis Wilson (Susan) of Edmond, Okla., and Mary Ann Wilson Baldwin (Bruce) of Hillsborough, N.C. She took great joy in her six grandchildren: Evan and Hannah (Bruce and Cathy), Madison and Chandler (Dennis and Susan) and Matthew and Scott (Mary Ann and Bruce). She had one great-granddaughter, Elaina Louell Gilbert.
Her grandchildren enjoyed piling into her beautiful, cozy home to be treated to feasts, fun, laughter and, most of all, love.
Mary was a devout follower of Jesus who could sing (or whistle) many songs from the Baptist Hymnal and did so most every day. She dedicated her life to serving in the church and helping others.
The most impactful of all her acts of charity was her teaching of English as a Second Language to internationals. She first began this work in 1965 while living at Fort Richardson Army Base in Anchorage, Alaska. Family members, often spouses of service members or Alaskan company executives, came to English classes at the church as a joint church/base outreach. Mary was dedicated to serving them through teaching, but also through caring for them and their families while they were far from their homelands. A highlight for her was watching many of her students become American citizens.
She continued teaching international students for 30 years and developed programs wherever she moved. She was honored for the development of an English language program in Blacksburg, which started in her home, moved to Blacksburg Baptist Church and operated for twenty years, serving hundreds of families.
Mary’s family owes a debt of gratitude to the staff at Brookdale Meadowmont, especially those who lovingly cared for her during her time in memory care. Their expertise and understanding provided our family with support and comfort during many challenging years.
Because of COVID-19 precautions, Mary’s life will be honored at a family-only graveside service. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to any charity that reflects Mary’s acts of kindness for others.
Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.