Maud O. Gary, 106Published 6:49pm Sunday, November 25, 2012
Born: April 19, 1906
Died: Nov. 21, 2012
Maud O. Gary lived a full life to the age of 106. She departed this life on Nov. 21, 2012.
She was born in Fort Gaines, Ga., Clay County, on April 19, 1906, to the union of Henry A. Owens and Elizabeth Bennefield Owens.
Her sisters, Essie “Sister” Littleton, Ethel “Sweet” Howard and Bennie D. “Doll” Boldin preceded her in death as did her brothers, Alvin “Sonbud” Owens and Charlie Alexander “Buddy” Owens.
She was joined in holy matrimony to A.Z. Gary of Orlando, Fla., in 1925. From this union, her only child, Earl Otis Gary, was born on July 17, 1927.
Maud received her master seamstress training and degree from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala.
She was a sought-after seamstress, specializing in alterations, who worked for upscale department stores in Florida, Georgia and Chicago.
Maud exhibited exemplary diction and speaking the “King’s English” was
expected from all who came around her. She was an immaculate dresser, making most of her clothes herself, and was known throughout the retail industry for her extraordinary tailoring and alteration skills.
Affectionately known as “Shug,” Maud was an excellent cook and loved to tell stories about her family that stretched back three and four generations. She had a keen memory for details and could remember back to childhood stories about her great-grandmother’s “Middle Passage” journey.
A staunch African Methodist Episcopal church member, Maud was very active in her home church, Wayman A.M.E., until her health affected her ability to attend regularly. She served her church in many capacities, attending conferences and influencing church policy through her activism.
Social activism flowed through Maud’s veins. She was known to join many protests to advocate for the rights of senior citizens. Through her participation in senior advocacy and protest groups, Maud marched and symbolically rocked in rocking chairs dressed in antique-looking clothes and bonnets, right in front of the city hall in Chicago to get the attention of Mayor Richard A. Daley.
Maud’s only child, Earl Otis Gary, preceded her in death on June 18, 1980. She was also preceded by one great-grandson, Craig Gary.
Maud will be greatly missed by family and friends. She leaves to cherish her memory grandsons, Frank (Angela) Thomas of Jacksonville, Fla., and Jerald Leon Gary and Earl Otis Gary, both of Chicago; great-grandchildren, Tony Thomas and Adrian Thomas, both of Jacksonville, and Jerald Thurman Gary of Chicago; and great-great-granddaughters, Adrianna and Brianna, of Jacksonville; along with a host of
nieces, nephews, grand, great-grand and great-great-grand nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather from 1 until 4p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, in Connelly Chapel Wagner Family Funerals, 202 N. Broadway St., Cassopolis.
Mrs. Gary’s remains will be laid to rest near her family in Chicago.
Online condolences may be posted at wagnercares.com.