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Mary Lou Cliburn Hughes passed away quietly at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Pam and David Walker, in Braxton, MS on 5//22/2018.
Mary Lou was born during the 1940s to her mother, Coraine Welch Cliburn and father, James “Buck” Cliburn. I say sometime during the 40’s because she was born with busy hands and never stopped, therefore she lied about her age so she could get her drivers license long before she turned 15; she did so because she was taking care on an elderly and disabled lady and mom had to drive her to medical appointments, etc. During that time she worked within walking distance of the café where she had a second job as a waitress in a local diner. The proximity allowed her to go back and forth between the home of her patient and the diner.
Previous to her working those two jobs she was a constant in the gardens picking cotton with her parents and siblings as share croppers on land which she later purchased from the land owner and built a house on many years later. She was in the process of selling that little house, a cabin in the woods with a live creek running through the property. Just as she had all her life, she worked hard and constantly on her many acres with a farm tractor, one in which she constantly got stuck in the creek or in a mudhole somewhere on the property.
Mary Lou was the rock of her entire family which includes her daughter Pam Langham Walker, her beloved and trusted son-in-law, David Walker and their daughter Madison. from Braxton, MS. A daughter, Donna Langham Hays of Brandon, MS. Her grandson, Christopher Hays of Arizona, grandson Fordie Hays of Mize, MS and his wife, Tabitha Warren Hays and their sons Talan and Lil Fordie. Mary Lou also leaves behind three sisters, Jeanie Fulton (Paul) of Florence, MS; a brother, James Ray Cliburn (Joyce) of Ohio; sisters Diane and Tammy of Mendenhall. She also leaves behind a host of cousins along with beautiful nieces and nephews. Extremely special friends of Mary Lou’s were Marvin Faucett of Madison, MS, Michael Hays of Mendenhall, MS and Willie Burton of D’Lo, Ms.
Proceeding her in death was her only son, Jimmy Dale Langham who died four years ago in Palm Springs, CA. Her father whom she simply adored, James “Buck” Cliburn, mother Coraine Welch Cliburn, sisters Letha Mae Morehead, Louise Rae and brother, John E. Cliburn. Mary Lou held an extreme closely guarded love for her Aunt Wilma Cliburn and her cousin, Mary Nell.
Mom was the kind of person that if you were in need she would always be there with a helping hand. A few years ago she suffered multiple strokes which left her with a slight personality change, but the one thing that never changed was her heart, it was as large as the moon times a million. She was known to feed the hungry, clothe the less fortunate, gather people to her table and welcome people with open arms. She was also a mom who defended her children with every breath she had within her. Never once did she ever let her children or grandchildren down. She was such a solid rock we thought she’d live forever.
Mom woke up Wednesday morning and was sitting on the couch sipping coffee when Pam, David and Madison left for the day, she said “I love you” as she always did. She was getting ready for a dentist appointment because of a toothache and ironing clothes. At five pm Pam returned home to find her deceased from an apparent heart attack.
Mom raised three children on a tiny paycheck and never put us to bed hungry or dirty. We never knew we were so poor because we never lacked the things we needed. She was a provider, mother, care giver, concerned parent/grandparent and she seemed 12 feet tall to Pam, Jimmy and I, though she was actually about 5’5. Mom was the most loyal person the world has ever known.
After mom’s strokes she never slowed down, it was as if she was afraid if she stopped she would never get back up, so she went all the time. She worked in her yard constantly and leaves behind many beautiful flower beds which will bloom year round and grace the skies with beautiful smells.
Mom never finished high school but it never held her back, she owned two grocery stores in her lifetime and was a top producing sales person for a major spice company for over 20 years. Her personality gained her recognition for her work ethics and her attention to details.
Mom was a free thinker and she loved reading. In her lifetime she read well over 300 books. She craved knowledge and never stopped learning.
Mom taught us that people are the same and should be treated as such. She never once looked at people by race, economic status, clothes they wore or the help they had to ask for. She treated them all the same, she wanted to save the world.
In her most recent years her granddaughter, Madison was her joy, she took her to school and picked up her afterwards, she loved spoiling her rotten and stealing as many hugs and kisses as she possibly could. Mom had grown tired in the recent years but she adored her great grandsons, Talan and Lil Fordie as well. Mom always said “I love my kids but my grandkids are just a little closer to my heart” and they still are.
Her favorite thing in the world was to have her children, grandchildren and friends around her all at the same time. The mother’s day prior to her death Fordie Hays, Tabitha Warren Hays, David and Pam Walker, Chris Hays, Madison, Lil Fordie, Talan and Mike Hays and I spent time together with a shrimp boil, it was a happy moment for her and we are thankful we had those moments. That day was in God’s hands and he gave us one more day to be together, if only we had known that day would be our last.
Mom has a fascinating life story and perhaps one day I’ll put it in writing, but for now, our family would like to thank everyone for your kind words and many prayers as we take on these next few days. After my father’s mother died he said the following day “I’m 72 and today is the first day I woke up without a mother”, Pam and I are not that old, but today the sun set without our mother here on earth with us. We love you momma, heart, soul, good, bad and all that your life resembled. You will never be forgotten.
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