She was born December 25, 1927, in Thebes, Illinois the daughter of the late Harry & Margaret (Edmundson) Bennett.
She married Harry Ray Chester on February 14, 1948, in Alto Pass, Illinois. He preceded her in death December 17, 2006.
Mary is survived by three daughters, Sue (Don) Carstens-Spry of Bradenton, Florida, Raydine (William) Alexander of Edwardsville, Kym Brown of Edwardsville; Seven grandchildren, Daren (Laura) Carstens, Brian Carstens, Jill (Kris) Kershaw, Jeffrey (Heather) Alexander, Deena Brown, & Kayla (Thomas) Buie; 24 great grandchildren; 5 great great grandchildren; 2 brothers, Charles (Emma Dell) Bennett of Tamms and Jack (Shirley) Bennett of Anna; and one sister, Hazel Vaughn of Anna.
Mary was preceded in death by two granddaughters, Jane Elizabeth Alexander and Mary Anna Carstens; and three sisters, Ella Tullock, June Plumb, and JoAnn Benefield.
While Harry worked for Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis for almost 40 years, he and Mary raised their family in Hartford and Edwardsville. They returned to Southern Illinois and enjoyed a long, active retirement living at the Lake of Egypt and Goreville.
Mary was a member of the First Baptist Church of Goreville and formerly a long-time Charter member of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church in South Roxana, Illinois. Mary Grace and Harry Ray taught adult Sunday school for many years at both Bethel and Goreville Baptist.
Their outgoing personalities, love of the Lord and passion for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ drew people close to them. Their wide circle of friends gave them great joy.
Mary was a talented homemaker and a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She loved to entertain and cook wonderful meals for her family and friends.
In later years, though she could no longer cook and care for others, her love was displayed by a beautiful big smile and warm hug for everyone she met.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, October 24, 2014, at Weber & Rodney Funeral Home in Edwardsville. There will be a service at 7:00 p.m. Friday at the funeral home with Rev. Daren Carstens, Rev. Jeffrey Alexander, Rev. Michael Vaughn & Rev Brad Thomas officiating.
The family would like to acknowledge Chaplain Brad Thomas for his outstanding pastoral care at Meridian Village.
Visitation will continue on Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 12 noon until 1:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Goreville.
Services will follow in Goreville at 1:00 p.m. Saturday. Interment will be at St. John Cemetery in Dongola.
Family requests memorials to St. John’s Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund, Meridian Village Benevolent Fund, or Bethel Freewill Baptist Church.