MARY NIHART WINEINGER
JANUARY 10, 1916 - DECEMBER 4, 2006
We were blessed to grow up in a home where our mother prayed for us each morning. We knew this as youngsters. We knew this in our thirties. And we knew this--even as we entered our sixtieth years.
Our mother, born Mary Caroline Nihart, on January 10, 1916, in Minneapolis, Kansas, also prayed for others, not just those in her family. We would not know how much she prayed, however, until after her death at 90, in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 4, 2006--when we found her list of the people she prayed for every morning at the front of her address book. The list went on for several pages.
Mary Caroline Nihart, the eldest of six, grew up in Lake Arthur, New Mexico, and carried a heavy load of responsibility for her siblings early in life. But she stayed close to her brothers and sisters even as they spread out over the globe in later years.
Recently, during the two-and-a-half weeks that our mother lay dying, two of her siblings, John Nihart, of Longview, Texas, and Dorothy Chandler, of St. George, Utah, joined us (daughters, Jean Streetman Horn of Raton, New Mexico, Bonnie Mason of Topsham, Maine) and granddaughter, Michelle Marie Mason, of Newburyport, Massachusetts) in singing hymns and reading Psalms.
Although Mother could not actually sing or say the words, she mouthed them. You could tell that she believed every word in every hymn and in every prayer. Her religion was not just a matter of practice. It was ingrained into her very being.
Now of course, we could go on and on about our mother's talents. She had a brilliant mind, which allowed her to excel in science and get accepted into medical school, even though she chose instead to marry her McMurry College sweetheart, Donald Wineinger, in New Orleans in June of 1939. At this point, she entered the Louisiana Conference as a minister's wife in body, mind, and spirit.
After her children, Jean and Bonnie, were born she became involved in their school activities. As a guest speaker in their classrooms, she shared her knowledge of the planetary system and could point out the constellations to anyone who asked. She enjoyed playing dominoes and other board games. And she loved it when my dad teased her, although, of course, she said she did not!
She was organized. Very organized. She knew where every item and every penny she owned happened to be. She never got lost. Her sense of direction was always right on the money and if you were driving and needed a good guide, she was the one to show you.
She loved literature, sewing (actually made both her daughters' wedding dresses), gardening, reading, writing, and current events. And she was no slouch in the politics department either. Some private matters Mary Wineinger may have kept close to her heart, but her love of other people, her concern for their troubles, and her generosity with her time and money on their behalf, never, ever will die. By way of example, she was active in Church Women United and the Women's Society of Christian Service. And more recently, she gifted Perkins School of Theology and McMurry College with funds upon her death for a scholarship fund and a room in a new theology building.
But most of all, our mother believed in prayer. We can feel them now. And the knowledge that she is still close in our own prayers brings us comfort. We are thankful for her gift of prayer!
Survivors include her siblings, John Nihart, Dorothy Chandler, and Ruth Moran; and daughters, Jean Streetman Horn, and Bonnie Mason; and granddaughter, Michelle Marie Mason.
Bonnie W. Mason, Topsham, Maine
Jean Streetman Horn, Raton, New Mexico
Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2007; p. 268.