MARY SHEP MANN
MARY SHEP MANN, 104, a mother, grandmother, great- and
even great- great-grandmother, died Friday, March 12, 2010, in Woodlands Health
She was born May 10, 1905, in Huntington, W.Va., a daughter of the late Alonzo and Agusta Mason McVay.
She was also preceded by a sister, Hilda McIntosh; two brothers, John T. McVay and Joe A. McVay and a great-grandson, William Giesel. Mary Shep Mann was an inspiration to all who met her.
Known by her grandchildren as "Dede," she was treasured and will be forever missed by her family who was blessed to know her through five generations.
She was loved by her daughter, Betty Graves Mann Foard and son-in-law David Allen Foard Jr.; her four grandchildren, Allen Foard and his wife Debby, Nancy Brashear and her husband Joe,
Paul Foard and his wife Barbara, and Mary Giesel and her husband Rick; her nine great-grandchildren Allen Foard, Ashleigh Streeter, Sarah Foard, Elizabeth Foard, Ginny Shenk, Sam Brashear,
William Giesel, Henry Giesel and Heath Giesel; and her three (soon to be four) great- great-grandchildren, Haley Foard, David Foard and Chamberlin Streeter.
An eternal optimist full of spark, vitality and love for people even into her 104th year, Mary Shep Mann was a friend to all and never one to sit back and observe.
She was a rich part of Huntington's musical traditions. She studied piano both at Julliard in New York City and Fontainebleau outside Paris.
She was honored through her life as a musician by more than one generation of piano students whom she taught both as a private instructor and a Marshall professor.
She performed as a piano accompanist for many professional voice soloists, including her special friend, Jane Hobson Shephard, and for her own great-grandchildren.
But Mary Shep's interests and passions did not stop there. She was an accomplished flower and vegetable gardener, particularly when it came to peonies, irises and orchids.
She was a master in the art of southern cuisine, southern flavor and southern hospitality. She baked the world's best strawberry-rhubarb pie and she was "a baseball nut," especially when it came to the Cincinnati Reds.
A Life member of the Woman's Club of Huntington, Music Teachers National Association, Board member for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and Adjudicator for MTNA for W.Va., Ohio and Ky.
Mary Shep was a strong, independent, no-nonsense kind of woman with a mind that would not quit. She could sew clothes for her daughter and grandchildren, make Chinese egg rolls as early as the 1970s,
change a car tire and even fix the kitchen sink. Throughout her life, she traveled the world starting before World War II, visiting such countries as Russia, China, Japan and most of Europe.
During her early travels, she never missed a beat as she performed piano for her fellow passengers for the five days it took to cross the Atlantic by ship.
A celebration of Mary Shep's life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 20, 2010, at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church by The Rev. Chris Perkins.
Friends may call 10 a.m. until service time at the church. Expressions of sympathy may be made to Enslow Park Presbyterian Church, 1338 Enslow Blvd., Huntington, WV 25701
or Hospice of Huntington PO Box 464, Huntington, WV 25709. Mary Shep was not the kind of person that could easily be forgotten, and those who knew her certainly never will.
She truly lived by one of her life mottos, "Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it." None can disagree that Mary Shep Mann played it well.
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