Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mary McDaniel Dies At 83

Mary Tillman McDaniel of Clewiston, Florida passed away on March 12, 2016 at 3:30 in the morning. She was born to Nora Mae and Joseph Wheeler Tillman on July 21, 1932 in Ocala, Florida.

Mary spent most of her life on the McDaniel Ranch 30 miles South of Clewiston, Florida. In 1947, as an 18 year old, she traveled with a choral group to sing at a Baptist Church in LaBelle, Florida, and that performance changed her life forever. 

John Wesley McDaniel and Agnes McDaniel and her son, Robert (Bob) E. McDaniel, were in their usual seats at the church that day. During the service, Bob turned to his Mother and pointing to Mary said, "Ask her home for dinner". Mary was invited, and it was love at first sight because Bob McDaniel had eyes only for the beautiful Mary and her beautiful voice. 

Shortly thereafter he began making frequent trips to Lakeland and several months later Mary and Bob were engaged on May 15th 1951.They were married on June 8th, 1951 and began their life together in a small wooden home at the ranch. 

Life was difficult. Their home had almost no modern conveniences. There was no inside plumbing, no air conditioning, no clothes dryer, outhouse and lots of hard work. The roads were very primitive with no grocery stores, no modern conveniences, and no neighbors. The land was forbidding. 

Water frequently stood in their yard and Bob would pump water off the vegetable fields when it was too wet and pump water onto the fields when it was too dry. For a young girl from the city these were challenging days. Yet, the love between Mary and Bob carried them through the difficult times. Mary spent the next years giving birth to four boys, cooking for cow hands, and taking care of her home and family. 

She was a pioneer woman in every sense of the word- courageous, hard- working and dedicated to her family and to the ranch. She was a strong, motivated person determined to make a success of the ranch and of her family and she would defy any attempts to do harm to either one. She would stand up and be counted when needed. She and Bob together made the McDaniel Ranch a happy and successful business and home for their sons who also worked on the ranch.

Music was always a part of Mary's life. As a youth, she and her sisters visited with her Aunt Mattie and Uncle Lawrence McGlynn in Gainesville, Florida, and always sang at Pine Grove Baptist Church where the McGlynns were regular members. Through the years, Mary sang at weddings and funerals joyfully sang the wonderful hymns of her Christian faith. 

Whether in Clewiston, Fort Myers, and Immokalee or in the North Carolina Mountains, Mary enjoyed attending church services for the sermons, but never failed to speak of the music. Of course, music brought Mary and Bob together and they were happily married for 50 years until Bob's death on February 12, 2001. Mary was a beautiful woman loved by many people. 

When her husband and children needed her, she was, without hesitation, always there for them. She was known far and wide for her cooking skills and all were welcome at her table. Her kindness knew no bounds. Her smile was contagious and even in difficult times, she was cheerful, uplifting, and encouraging to those needing a hand up.

Her family extended to sons; Robert E. McDaniel, Jr. (Toni), John McDaniel, Sr. (Karen), David McDaniel (Kathy), Jeff McDaniel (Vonnie), thirteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. 

Mary had many friends in Clewiston, in Fort Myers, in Immokalee and in the North Carolina mountains where for the last ten years of her life she spent six months each year enjoying God's beautiful handiwork. Her presence and cheerfulness made a room feel warmer and brighter and her laughter and her genuine concern for others was felt by all. 

You always knew that Mary was on your side and could be counted on to assist whenever possible. Her kindness was apparent, and when friends and family members were troubled they knew Mary would pray for them and be there for them. She was a dedicated Christian. She and Bob raised their sons to be Christians, and Mary's example of goodness was a reflection of her love for God. 

Mary's life counted and now she is with the angels and family who have gone before. She loved angels and perhaps she is even now singing that old hymn that ends with "It is well, it is well, with my soul."

Funeral services were held Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 10:30 am at First Baptist Church of Clewiston, Clewiston with Rev. Bill Derryberry officiating. Interment was Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm in Lee Memorial Park Cemetery, Fort Myers. Visitation was Tuesday from 6:00-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice if we could learn this before they are buried.