Mary Virginia Eakins

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mary Virginia Eakins, 83, of Jackson passed away Friday, April 27, 2012, at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

Her last year in life was challenging. Still mourning the 2011 death of her husband, Coy, her spirits sank lower with the loss of the two family dogs, Lady and Kitty. The past year, she endured multiple hospitalizations and surgeries, three months in a nursing home and her final two weeks in the hospital. Following open-heart surgery, there became no hope for her deteriorating condition. Surrounded by family, as the nurse walked over to turn the machines off, an incredible thing happened, Mary passed away peacefully on her own.

To those who knew her, it will come as no surprise that she chose to be an organ donor. The gift of her skin may help as many as 20 individuals whose lives have been affected by mastectomies or burns.

Mary was born Jan. 8, 1929, in St. Louis to William and Margaret Staub Moreland. In 1948, by bus, she traveled to Jackson to celebrate the Fourth of July with friend, Dorothy Myers. It was then that she was introduced to Coy Eakins, and four months later, on Nov. 24, 1948, they eloped to Paragould, Ark. They raised their family in Des Peres/Kirkwood, Mo., area, relocating to Eureka, Mo., in 1978. In 1990, they moved to Burfordville, and in 2004, due to failing health, they moved to Jackson and resided with daughter Linda. They had been married nearly 63 years when Coy passed away May 16, 2011.

Mary was always caring and giving, and devoted her entire life to family. In earlier years, she enjoyed gardening, canning and sharing her bountiful harvest of green beans and tomatoes. She had a special flair for cooking, and was always interested in cookbooks and exploring new recipes. Her other interests were reading, often reading a book a day, and sharing memories of times past. A favorite childhood memory she often recalled is seeing an FDR campaign on the back of a train in St. Louis.

Mary was of the Baptist belief.

Loving survivors include a son, Michael (Linda Lee) Eakins of Delta; two daughters, Judy Bean of Manchester and Linda Eakins of Jackson; three grandchildren, Linda Sue Bean and Bobby Bean of Manchester and Kristy (Terry) Gower of Spring Lake, N.C.; four great-grandchildren, Kelsey and Zachary Bean, and Hannah and Ashlynn Gower; three brothers-in-law, L.T. (Mary Lou) Eakins, Wayne Myers and Paul Dean Clardy; many special nieces, nephews, neighbors and friends, particularly Loretta Blattner of Kirkwood, Betty Brady of Sterling, Va., and Connie Slinkard of Fredericktown, Mo.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by a sister, Stella Clough; two brothers, Jimmy and William Moreland; and a son-in-law, Roy Bean.

The Eakins family wishes to thank:

Nurse practitioner and friend Debbie Evans of MedStop One for years of exceptional care. Words cannot fully express appreciation for all you've done.

Dr. Heidi Hunter of Saint Francis Medical Center and her team of physical and occupational therapists for bringing back Mary's strength and accomplishing what others said she could not do. If only her heart had "behaved," we're convinced she would have had the best quality of life she'd had in years.

New McKendree Methodist Church in Jackson for welcoming Linda to pick up delicious "meals on wheels" every Wednesday for years for the family.

And Ratliff Care Center in Cape Girardeau for the exceptional care Mary received during her stay. While there, Teen Challenge performed a Christmas concert and so inspired Mary that she talked about them for weeks and planned to help their organization when she got better.

In honoring Mary's wishes, her family has invited the Rev. Janet Hopkins to officiate a public graveside service at 1 p.m. May 16 at Russell Heights Cemetery in Jackson. It will be a celebration of the life Mary and Coy shared, followed by the release of 62 balloons representing the years they were married. Rev. Janet will also sing a favorite hymn that Mary enjoyed from times past at the Little Ole Opry in Burfordville.

The family requests memorial contributions to Teen Challenge, P.O. Box 1089, Cape Girardeau, MO 63702.

Arrangements by McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson.