Messer, Mary E. Marshall (Mrs. Glendon)


Dec. 24, 1920 - April 12, 2008

Born on Christmas Eve in San Francisco, California to Eunice Cooley and Robert James Marshall, my mother was named Mary Eugenia Marshall. She once told me that was the only time she was called Mary because of a popular song at the time, “Margie”. I was 22 before I heard someone laughing about something. “Well, Mary Eugenia, what are we going to do about that?” I walked in and asked, “Who is Mary?” and Margie replied, “That is my birth name, but everyone called me Margie or Marjorie.” If I had not heard that part of the conversation I don’t think I would ever have known her name was not Marjorie!

Promoted to the second grade after 3 weeks in the first, this bright and sensitive girl learned early to care for others and to become a nurturing person for her younger sister, Dolores. Margie was eleven when her father moved back to Mississippi after her parents divorced, and she was not in contact until she was twenty-seven, after my brother was born in 1947.

Her unusual and uniquely beautiful soprano voice caught the attention of several musicians from Balboa High in San Francisco. Asked to sing with them during a live show at a local radio station one night, her voice received such recognition from listeners and the owner of the station, at 18 she was offered a full time singing opportunity with the station, but she turned it down to finish high school. Eunice, my grandmother, an impulsive individual, decided to move back to Mississippi two days before Margie graduated. They were on the train to McComb two hours after Margie received her diploma. In Baton Rouge, Eunice called a relative and asked if she and the girls could stay there for a few days to rest before going on to Mississippi. A month later, Margie found a job working at a moving and storage business where a young man named Glendon R. Messer worked. He told his two brothers he found the woman he would marry and in November of 1940, he and Margie went to Woodville, Mississippi, and started a marriage that lasted 49 years and 10 months. Michael Glynn was born in 1947 and I arrived in 1948.

Glendon had 4 churches while completing his degree at LSU and while at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. In New Orleans, his first appointment at Elysian Fields UMC, congregations were fortunate to be transported, soothed and calmed by the music my mother started to develop into her ministry. After New Orleans, was Amite UMC, Lake Arthur UMC, St. Paul’s UMC in Baton Rouge, Winnsboro UMC, Simpson UMC in Lake Charles, Istrouma UMC in Baton Rouge, Friendship UMC and Corbin UMC in Walker. Her voice graced the choir in Hammond UMC, where they retired.

My mother was twice rewarded for her dedication to serving others in her quiet and dignified manner, by receiving lifetime status from the Methodist Women’s Society of Christian Service in two churches they served. She was a mentor to grammar school children for more than four years after the age of 72, continued to exercise with senior aerobics, and walk in local Breast Cancer Race for the Cure, until she was 75.
At 87, after 3 years of living with a failing heart, on Saturday morning, April 12, 2008, Michael and I were each holding one of her hands as she completed the final phase of transition from the Earthly life in San Antonio, Texas, where we’ve lived for 6 years. She walked gently through life, touching every person she encountered with joy during days of sunlight and with comfort during the times of darkness, never putting herself first, but as by the example of our living Lord, always putting others in that place. As my father once said, “I do the preaching and she does the practicing”. She did. Michael and I know we are better people from having her influence in our lives with her unconditional love and support. My father told me that he really got lucky by having Margie to set the mood for his sermons. Her voice gave such a calming effect that he thought it enhanced his message. When I was 13, I told him I thought most people came to hear her sing and then just stuck around for his message.

It is with much sadness and the most loving of memories that we bid our dear mother not goodbye, but we will join you soon in heaven.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister and brother-in-law. She leaves behind two loving children, two sisters-in-law, many nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews and all their off spring!

From loving memories of our loving mother, Mary Eugenia Marjorie Marshall Messer, Michael and I thank God for sending us to her.

Natalie J. Messer

Source: 2008 Louisiana Annual Conference Journal

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