MARY B. KINSEY age 93, wife of the late Truman, dear mother of Linda Kinsey and step mother of the late George Kinsey and Betty Shahan, sister of the late Johnny Henderson, Mabel Flinn, Patty Cochran, Virginia Ballosh and Eileen Lialios,step-grandmother of Patrick Kinsey, Holly Winterstein and Trumaine Kinsey. Friends may call on Friday, July 23 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the Brooklyn Heights Mausoleum 4700 Broadview Rd. Cleveland, Ohio 44109 where a graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. A luncheon will follow at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 50 E. Bagley Road, Berea, Ohio 44017.
Mary Henderson Kinsey will be remembered as someone who lived a simple life of peace and faith. Her years revolved around family, church and friends. She was a devoted wife to Truman Kinsey, who died in 1976.
He met my Mary after seeing her picture in a photographer’s studio window. She was a remarkably beautiful woman, and he was immediately convinced that he had to meet her. Coincidentally, he was friends with Mary's brother, Johnny, who was with him at the time he saw Mary's photograph. “That’s the woman I’m going to marry!” he declared. And he did.
Mary was born September 20, 1927 to Lando and Bessie Henderson of Grafton, West Virginia. She grew up on a farm, and her father also worked for the Baltimore-Ohio Railroad. She often recounted her years on the farm, especially at Thanksgiving. She liked to recall the time a group of men “riding the rails” found their way to the farm house. With no men folk around that day, it was scary, but the leader of the group said his mother was a lady and “the first one who gets out of line will have to answer to me!” They asked her mother for some food, which she gave them. Despite the hardships of the Great Depression, Mary recalled that the large family never went without plenty of food, a fact she attributed to her mother's determination to never let anyone go hungry — including some neighbors who found little food to eat. In addition to the Great Depression, Mary lived through World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Her brother, the late John Henderson, was a Marine veteran.
WWII played a big role in her young life. Some of the young men who went off to fight never returned from the battlefield, while others decided to seek their fortune in bigger cities. She often remembered Jackie Sturms, a good friend, who died in the Battle of the Bulge. Her brother would often write home, the only practical means of communication back then, but she and her family weren’t often informed of where he was stationed, as this was classified information.
Farm life required plenty of hard work. Milking the cows at 5 a.m. and sweltering summer days in the kitchen canning tomatoes, green beans and other vegetables were part of her farm-girl life. But there was fun, too, especially on Saturday nights when friends and neighbors would gather for square dances. “People had more fun back then,” she said many times.
Her hobbies centered on the home: cooking, needlework and gardening. She also loved to read. And in her later years, when she no longer could garden as she once did, she became a voracious reader, sometimes devouring as many as three books a week. Her favorite genre was historic fiction, especially if it concerned stories of the American pioneers. She could easily impress with her knowledge of American history, and she was knowledgeable about the Founding Fathers and Mothers and presidents.
In recent years, she also developed a taste for political news, and she was up to date on the events of Washington. She often watched Congressional debates on C-Span. She was a wealth of information (and opinion!) on the national elections. She was a firm believer that everyone should be well informed and vote, and she rarely missed an election.
Through all of her 93 years, her faith in God was the centerpiece of her life. She regularly read the Bible and always had a devotional book at her side. When her diagnosis of terminal cancer came, she faced it with courage and dignity. She was quite clear that she was at peace with it. She was also clear about the kind of farewell she wanted — a simple graveside service. She was quite sure that God was waiting to usher her into her new life.
When she was younger, she was an active member of Heritage Congregational Church in Berea. Although she never became a formal member (she retained her membership to the Church of the Brethren in Grafton), she considered it her church for many years and attended a variety of functions with her friends.
She also loved to cook, and preferred basic dishes she learned from her mother. She was best known for her fried chicken. When family picnics were planned, she was always called on to make the chicken. Another of her signature dishes was biscuits with sausage gravy.
Military veterans held a special place in her heart, and she supported several organizations, including the VFW.
She leaves behind a legacy of kindness and generosity. She loved abundantly, was quick to forgive and didn’t hold grudges. She also had an eternally optimistic outlook on life, always affirming that all would work out in the end — despite the circumstances. She faced old age focusing on the good in her life and being content with what she had.
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