Mary Whiteside Lancaster passed away on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Mary was born on February 19, 1930 in Teague, Texas to Mattie Ora and Talmage Whiteside. She was raised in Normangee, Texas. Mary attended Baylor University and graduated in 1951 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Bible. Mary moved to Bryan, Texas where she was the Director of the Bryan/College Station Girl Scout Council and served in that capacity for two years. Mary and Bill Lancaster met on a blind date in 1952 and were married in January, 1953. Mary and Bill raised their three children, Laura, Nancy, and Brad, in College Station, Texas.
Mary’s passion was in serving others in many different ways. She taught kindergarten in their home, taught piano lessons, and, with Bill, ran a boarding house in their home for 40 years. Ma and Pa were surrogate parents and grandparents to countless Aggies who lived in their rental property, ate their meals, or came to visit residents and family during their time in Aggieland. As the ultimate hostess, she radiated hospitality and was ever gracious even when the unexpected guest dropped by to reminisce about the good ole days. Because she and Pa lived in the Lancaster family home, the extended Lancaster family celebrated many holidays at her table before or after football games. As members of First Baptist Church, College Station for nearly 60 years, Mary held a variety of roles included Sunday School teacher, youth leader, Wednesday night supper organizer, church secretary, and served as church pianist for over 30 years.
An avid needlework enthusiast, Mary ran the Spinning Wheel knit shop in Bryan in the mid 1960’s and was gifted with needlework of all kinds. She could see a dress on a mannequin in a store window and make a copy by hand. She made quilts, she knitted and crocheted, and never seemed to be without a project – often for charity. She loved history, researching the family’s genealogy, and world travel. She will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, friend and “Ma” to many.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Mattie Ora and Talmage Whiteside. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, William B. Lancaster, children Laura Lancaster Arth of College Station, Nancy Lancaster Smith (Ted Smith) of Wichita Falls, Brad Lancaster (Karen Lancaster) of Austin, Texas, grandchildren Ted Smith III, Stacey Smith, Amy Smith Berry (Blayne Berry), Ann Carolyn Arth Williams (Ben Williams), Julia Lancaster, Will Lancaster II, and great-grandchildren Reid Williams, Davis Williams, Jude Berry and Everett Berry.
Services to celebrate Mary’s life will be held on Thursday, October 1, 2015. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 pm at the College Station Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of College Station. Immediately following, all are invited to a visitation with the family in the fellowship hall. Memorials can be made to programs supporting Alzheimer’s/dementia research and prevention, Hospice Brazos Valley, or First Baptist Church College Station.
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