Mary Chenault Hershey

Mary Chenault Hershey, formerly of Richmond, died May 19, 2014 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital after a massive stroke.

Mary Louise Chenault was born in Chicago Ill. Feb. 24, 1913.  She moved two years later to Richmond, the hometown of her parents Arthur R and Louise L (Hughes) Chenault.  After graduation from Richmond High, she graduated from Christian College in Columbia.  She then earned the A.B. degree from the University of Missouri in 1934.  After college, she worked for a time in West Plains and in Moberly.  She married Auguste Cazalet Hershey July 5, 1937, in Richmond.  After marriage, she lived first in Baton Rouge La. and then in Illinois.

She lived in Alton Ill. from 1945 until 1978 when she and Auguste moved to Richmond.  She was active until a month ago, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, where she attended Easter Services on 4-20-14.  She drove her own car up to the age of 98.  She gave her last party in December 2013.  She danced at the party for her 100th birthday.  She was the ultimate traveler, taking major trips almost every year since 1970.  Within the past two years, she vacationed in France and in Mississippi and Louisiana.  Over her lifetime, she visited six continents, untold countries where it is not safe to travel today, as well as almost every state in the USA.  She was a great proponent of education, and for many years was active in the League of Women Voters, the AAUW, PEO, and other organizations.  She was President of the League of Women Voters and the AAUW in Alton.  She played bridge up to the age of 100.  She was the first woman ever elected to the Alton IL Board of Education.  Then she was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Higher Education, whose job it was to supervise all state universities and help the Governor and Legislature allocate funds among all.  She served more than 12 years on this board, beginning in 1961.  Later, she received the Distinguished Service Award from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at the Spring Commencement.  She was also active in business.

Years after the death of Auguste, she moved to Sarasota. She is survived by her two children: Harry C Hershey of Worthington Ohio and Judith H Melly of Sarasota.  She has five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be May 30 at 4 p.m. in Sarasota at First Presbyterian Church and June 13 at 4 p.m. in Richmond at the Methodist Church, with receptions to follow.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the United Christian Presbyterian Church in Richmond, 501 Spartan Drive, 64085.


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