Mary Lee Tarwater, 99, of Iowa City, passed away peacefully Friday, May 30, 2014 at the Hawthorne Inn Assisted Living Facility in Coralville, surrounded by her loving family.
Mary Lee was born May 28, 1915 in Richmond, the daughter of John and Mattie (Long) Jackson. She grew up in Richmond and graduated from Richmond High School. On May 2, 1948, Mary Lee married Menlo Tarwater in Richmond, where the couple resided until moving to Excelsior Springs, later to Topeka, Kan., and most recently Iowa City since 1960.
Mary Lee was a homemaker during her adulthood. She was not only eternally a great mother to her two children, but also often served as a “surrogate mother” to the neighborhood children, who affectionately knew Mary Lee as “Mrs. T”. She was a wonderful woman whose life centered around family, community and church.
Mary Lee took great pride in her church and was an active member of The First United Methodist Church of Iowa City for over 50 years. She was a longtime member of The United Methodist Women and BYKOTA (Be Ye Kind One To Another). She also was a wonderful mentor to young women throughout the church. Mary Lee cherished the opportunities to reach out to church members in need and never let an opportunity pass without sending a card or a letter. She was also a longtime member of The Richmond United Methodist Church. In her free time, she loved to garden and tend to her flowers, cook and sew. She will be dearly missed.
Survivors include her two chidren: Pamela Powell of Westminster, Colo. and Bruce Tarwater and his fiancé Ruth Bradley of Iowa City; a sister-in-law Thelma Gates Jackson of Grass Valley, Calif., and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mary Lee was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and her three brothers Ross, Johnny and Eugene Jackson.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 4 at The First United Methodist Church in Iowa City. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lensing Funeral Home, 605 Kirkwood Avenue in Iowa City. Burial will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Richmond Memory Gardens Cemetery in Richmond. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Mary Lee Tarwater Memorial Fund.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.lensingfuneral.com