She was born Dec. 1, 1936, in Louin, Miss., to Bonnie Dee and Thomas Trumer Winstead. The family moved to Magee, Miss., at an early age where shortly after high school graduation she met and married her husband of 41 years, Bernard Frederick Howe. With Fred’s work in the oil industry at Continental Oil Company, the couple lived and traveled the world from Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas to London, England, where Mary Ellen developed her artistic talent creating brass rubbing impressions of famous English tombstones. Eventually landing in Corpus Christi, she began her 33-year career in the retail industry starting with managing the ladies ready-to-wear department for Dillard’s to eventually running her own boutique, mEllen’s, in Tyler for more than 10 years. Later, she became a regular volunteer at East Texas Medical Center and served in the gift shop. Residing in the Emerald Bay community for 35 years, she enjoyed traveling, golf, tap dancing, china painting and Women’s Club, serving as past president. Mary Ellen was a member of Green Acres Baptist Church, and her strong faith in God was ever present in her life from a young child to her challenging end days. Her love of people provided a wide circle of friends that created a wealth of memories. Dearest to her heart, though, was the blessing of a large network of family members who shared the closeness and values taught by her parents. Her friends and family will always remember her quick wit and sense of humor along with that occasional joke. We will forever miss the sparkle in her eye and her beautiful smile.
The family would like to express its deepest appreciation of the loving care and comfort Mary Ellen received from East Texas Medical Center, The Hospice of East Texas, the caregivers of Right At Home, and especially to Dr. Stephen Rydzak, Dr. Stephanie Diaz and the entire staff of Tyler Home Dialysis.
Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her husband, Fred; her parents; brother, J. R. (Buddy) Winstead, of Hattiesburg, Miss.; and sisters, Jean W. McCullough, of Birmingham, Ala., and Iris W. Clark, of Water Valley, Miss.
She leaves to cherish her memory her daughter, Vicki Pinch and husband Clayton, of Plano; son, Richard Howe and wife Sharon, of San Antonio; one grandson, Thomas Howe; four granddaughters, Morgan Pinch, Sydney Pinch, Madeline Howe and Mallorie Howe; two sisters, Nan W. Craven, of Magee, Miss., and Gloria W. Sowell and husband Ralph Sowell Jr., of Jackson, Miss.; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and her very close friend of 10 years, Paul Randolph, of Bullard.
Funeral services will be Monday, March 4, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. at Stewart Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Darryle Dunks of Emerald Bay Community Church officiating. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.
Graveside service will be held in Magee, Miss., City Cemetery Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 2 p.m., under the direction of the Hulett-Winstead funeral home of Hattiesburg, Miss., with her nephew, the Rev Hal Clark officiating.