Published on May 2, 2022
George Kersey, Jr. is a Nashville native whose mother Mary O. Kersey died at 97 years old in Alive’s care. He spoke with us recently to share some of his memories of her and the legacy she left.
I was lucky. I had my father in my life for 64 years and my mother for 74 years. That’s 138 years of parental influence directly in my life, and now in my memories. My parents married during World War II while my father was in training with the Air Corps and was deployed to Italy.
Mother had a very active faith. She had a spiritual, religious faith, but, more importantly, she had an abiding faith in the goodness of other people. She felt you have to transfer your spiritual faith to believe in others.
She also taught me that whatever you do, you should do it well. She practiced this in everything from balancing her checkbook, to making a bed, to taking care of the flowers in our yard, to reading.
She was a voracious reader of novels, and in her later years, she consumed John Grisham’s stories madly. I would always buy two books—one for me and one for Mother. Neither one of us was willing to wait for the other one to finish. We would tease each other about how far we had gotten with Grisham’s latest tale!
Mother could knit, crochet, and embroider. She started this in high school here in Nashville, knitting items to send to men in military service. She returned to these skills throughout her life and had examples of her handwork in her home. When she died, people wanted to remember her by those pieces, especially her granddaughters and her nieces. My decision, as the executor of her estate, was to let folks choose the items that held treasured memories for them. We donated a beautiful, framed piece of crewel needlework to the church.
She was confident and taught me to be too. Prior to her passing, she told me, “Buzz, don’t let anyone second guess you or me when I am gone. I have had 97 wonderful years, and that is more than most people get. I have had wonderful doctors. Together we have done this right!”