Mary Carroll Douglass McDaniel, 102, of White Deer, formerly of Pampa, Texas passed away peacefully on Monday, January 17, 2022, at home culminating a life that spanned more than a century.
Family and friends will gather to celebrate this remarkable lady at 2:00 PM Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at First United Methodist Church in Pampa with Rev. Ruby Moultrie, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Levelland and John Curry, officiating. Inurnment will follow in Fairview Cemetery under the direction of Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors and Crematory.
A visitation room will be set up starting Sunday, January 23, 2022.
The service will be livestreamed on the funeral home website.
On November 9, 1919, George and Ida (Carroll) Douglass, along with older brother Jean, welcomed Mary Carroll into the family’s home in Kansas City, Kansas. Mary’s education began in Kansas City schools, forming a foundation of learning that followed her throughout her life. When Mary was 10, her father, who had found work in the Panhandle of Texas, sent for his family to join him. They arrived by train in Pampa with only their suitcases to start a new life here. She attended Sam Houston Elementary School the first day it opened and graduated from Pampa High School in 1937, a small graduating class of five or six girls.
Mary’s parents instilled a strong work ethic, a love for music and a deep desire to learn in their daughter. Her mother, a college-educated pianist, emphasized the importance of speaking properly, excellent writing skills and appreciation for the musical arts. Her father encouraged her to prepare for adult life by dictating letters to her so she could practice her shorthand and hone her secretarial skills.
At age 16, Mary became secretary to Carl Benefield, manager of three local Pampa theaters: The Lenora, Rex and State. She taught herself to become a medical secretary, memorizing the difficult medical terminology. She worked as a secretary and business manager for Pampa physicians, Dr. E. H. Turner, Dr. R.M. Bellamy and Dr. Calvin Jones, and for the Medical/Surgical Clinic. She also worked for the Pampa Chamber of Commerce from 1939 to 1941. After 24 years, Mary retired from the medical field and applied her business acumen to the family business, Panhandle Motor Company.
Mary and Loyd Wilson were married in 1940. The couple had one daughter, Carol Jean. They divorced in 1959. For four years, she was a single parent, working and raising her daughter. Mary delighted in dressing her daughter “like a model” in beautiful dresses she sewed herself. On March 30, 1963, Mary and long-time friend Malcom McDaniel married. This marriage lasted 34 years until his death in 1997.
In the late 1930s, Mary became involved in the Pampa Chamber of Commerce, and this awakened an interest in civic affairs. Always a mover and a shaker, she took on leadership roles and served as president in numerous local organizations. She joined Altrusa Club International of Pampa in 1961. At the time of her death, she was one of the organization’s oldest members. She participated in the Pampa Gold Coats for years, welcoming new businesses and Chamber members into the community. She also served as an active member and officer of the 21st Century Study Club, Pampa National Secretary Association, Business & Professional Women, Treble Cleft Club, American Business Women’s Association, her FUMC Sunday School Class and the United Methodist Women.
Two roles for which Mary will be remembered are Mrs. Claus and “Katie.” She created the character of Mrs. Clause for Altrusa’s annual fundraiser, “Soup with Mrs. Claus,” a part she played every Christmas season for 17 years. Many Pampans will remember (or may be surprised to learn) that Mary wrote the popular column “Peeking at Pampa” under the pseudonym “Katie” for The Pampa News during the 1980s to the early 1990s.
After giving to the community so many decades, Pampa recognized Mary by honoring her with the 2013 Citizen of the Year award, presented at the 2014 Chamber of Commerce banquet. Mary had always been the one to write letters of recommendation and help plan the annual event. This time, though, when she heard her name called as the recipient, something happened that had never happened in her 94 years of life. Mary couldn’t think of a thing to say.
Mary’s paternal grandmother Nancy Jane Douglass, a staunch Methodist, paved the road for her spiritual beliefs. She first attended the First United Methodist Church of Pampa in June 1932. In April 1934, she formally joined, gaining the distinction of having the longest membership in the church’s history. For 70 years, Mary sang soprano in the church choir. Staying true to her upbringing, Mary took voice lessons from a renowned opera singer, Mary McCormick, who lived in Amarillo after retiring. Her grandchildren remember hearing Mary perform solos during recitals at the Amarillo Civic Center.
Without a doubt, Mary McDaniel was a woman ahead of her time. She spent a large part of her life mentoring other women to be self-sufficient and versed in the dying arts of civic duty, etiquette, parliamentary procedure, proper speech and writing, all skills she held in the highest regard.
She was born when automobiles and airplanes were in the earliest stages of development. As a small child, she attended a parade for aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh and his soon-to-be wife, Anne Morrow. At the time of Mary’s death, man had landed on the moon several times and a trip to Mars was in the foreseeable future. She lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She saw the towers fall on September 11, 2001 and survived the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through it all, Mary stayed the course, dedicated to caring for her family, working in the community, and serving in her church. She spent countless hours with her grandchildren and their children carrying on the wisdom and education her parents instilled in her. Mary was quick to give advice, support and encouragement. She adored her grandchildren and often said her favorite was the one she was with at that time.
Her parents, brother Jean, husband Malcolm, daughter Carol Jean Kotara and many dear friends will be waiting to welcome Mary into her heavenly home.
Remaining to remember her with love and admiration are son-in-law John Alden Kotara III; grandchildren, John Kotara IV, Karla Kotara and Tracy Kotara, all of White Deer, and Kalina Kotara Anderson and husband Rick of Frisco; great-grandchildren, John Jarett and wife Lindsay, Haili, Alexis, Raelin and Alden; and great-great grandchildren, Rylan, Makenna, John Kolt and Brenli.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1981, Pampa, Texas 79065.