MCGEE, MARY BETH PETERSON (1918 ~ 2012)
The following obituary was published in the Austin American Statesman on October 21, 2012.
Mary Beth McGee passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, in Austin Texas on October 9, 2012. Born in Yoakum, Texas on July 21, 1918, she was the only daughter of Frank William and Ladye McKinney Peterson. When she was a toddler, her family moved to the Heights on Byrne Street in Houston.
Mary Beth attended Rice Institute (now Rice University). In 1938 she was selected a class favorite and later graduated with a BA. It was there that she met her future husband, William Sears McGee. Mary Beth Peterson married William Sears McGee on March 8, 1941. The couple first lived in Houston, where Mary Beth taught English in the city's public schools prior to starting their family of six children.
During the Big Band Era, Mary Beth and Sears attended "dance club" events in Houston. They also enjoyed playing cards with the Bridge Club friends. Mary Beth was an excellent player and enjoyed teaching the game to her children and grandchildren-she was sharp to the last hand. The family moved to Austin in 1968 when Sears was elected to the Texas Supreme Court.
In Austin, she volunteered with the Settlement Club and was a member of the American History Club and active with her sewing group. She was an accomplished seamstress and created beautiful needlepoint, quilts, clothes and upholstery. Later, she took up knitting for her growing "collection" of great grandchildren. She also had a keen sense of design and when not decorating and making improvements to her own home, enjoyed drafting plans to make existing homes more functional. Throughout her life, she was an avid reader. When her vision deteriorated, she listened to books on tape and National Public Radio.
Mary Beth was preceded in death by her husband, Justice William Sears McGee (August 4, 2006) and her one brother, Frank William "Pete" Peterson. She is also survived by her son James Sears McGee, his wife Marni, and their children (granddaughter Elizabeth McGee Min, her husband Art Min and their sons: Benton and Peter, by grandson Claude McGee and his wife, Eriko and their children: Kai and Nami); by daughter Mary Gray McGee and her family (granddaughter Nina Little and her husband Chris Little and their children: Soren and Malin and by granddaughters Bethany McGee and Juliette McGee); by daughter Claire Holmes Emigh, her husband Glenn Emigh and their family (granddaughter Maya Holmes Mulvey, her husband Wyatt Mulvey, and their children: Lily and Willem and by granddaughter Aiyana Emigh); by daughter Alice McGee, her partner Colleen Murphy and family (grandson Ruben Ruckman, his wife Erin, and their daughter Inez, by grandson Ernie Ruckman, his wife Sakura Ishi, and their daughter Mio, and by granddaughter Hanna Ruckman); by son George Sears McGee, his wife Andrea and their family (grandson George Vance McGee, Johnny McGee and his wife Ashley, by grandson William Sears McGee and granddaughter Emily McGee); by son Erwin Smith McGee, his wife Katherine and their son, grandson Albert.
The family rejoices in the life of Mary Beth McGee - in the undiminished strength of her mind and spirit. Memorial services are pending; burial will be private with interment at the Texas State Cemetery. Donations in Mary Beth McGee's memory may be made to the Settlement Club or the American Association for the Blind. The family would like to express special gratitude to the Summit on Mesa staff and Odyssey Hospice for the genuine care given to Mary Beth.