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1924 Mary Frances McElrath Cox Hamby 2023

Mary Frances McElrath Cox Hamby

August 4, 1924 — September 17, 2023

Normal, IL

             Mrs. Mary Frances McElrath Cox Hamby, age 99, of Normal, Illinois, formerly of Murray, Kentucky, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, September 17, 2023, at The Loft Rehabilitation and Nursing of Normal in Normal, Illinois.

              Mary Frances was born at home in Murray, Kentucky on August 4, 1924, the third of four children, to the late Dr. Hugh McCorkle McElrath and Gladys Thomas McElrath. She attended Murray schools, ultimately graduating from Murray State University in 1946, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. She began her teaching career at Bald Knob High School in Franklin County, Kentucky from 1946-47 and continued in New Franklin, Missouri from 1947-48 and at Salisbury High School, Salisbury, Missouri in 1948.

              In the spring of 1933, Mary Frances committed her life to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior one Sunday morning at Murray Baptist Church, Murray, Kentucky and was baptized that night. Later, during college, while serving on the staff one summer at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center, near Asheville, North Carolina, she felt called to foreign mission service but did not know what form that would take. In the meantime, Mary Frances remained faithful to serve the Lord wherever she was.

              She married Carman Leroy Cox on June 5, 1948, and they lived in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana before retiring to South Carolina in 1984. He preceded her in death on July 10, 1998. They had four children who survive, Mary Linda Cox of Normal, Illinois; Thomas Leroy (Suzanne) Cox of Champaign, Illinois; Frances Lee (Steve) Street of Mahomet, Illinois; and Carmen Sue (Jeff) Taylor of Cumming, Georgia. She had 15 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren with more perhaps to come!

              During their years in the Midwest, Mary Frances and Leroy were active in what was called “Pioneer Baptist Work”. As volunteers, they started the Baptist Student work at Illinois State Normal University, Normal, Illinois and taught Sunday School, sang in choirs, worked on church construction and mission projects, as well as serving on Association and State Baptist committees. They helped start and serve in several small Baptist mission churches.

              After her husband’s retirement from the GTE Corporation, Mary Frances and Leroy began 14 years of volunteer mission work around the world, ultimately fulling her college desire to do foreign missions.  After Leroy passed, while they were on a mission trip to Cernavoda, Romania, Mary Frances continued to serve overseas for two more years. When not on the mission field, they were active members at Edward’s Road Baptist Church, Greenville, South Carolina and later First Baptist Church, Simpsonville, South Carolina.

              It was there at First Baptist Church, Simpsonville, South Carolina, that Mary Frances later met and married, on May 31, 2003, her second husband, Charles Smith Hamby, Jr., and they made their home in Simpsonville, South Carolina. They remained active members at that church where she taught in the Esther Sunday School Class, and where both were in the choirs until his death on August 18, 2010. She is survived by her stepson, Gerald W. (Cindy) Hamby of Columbia, South Carolina.

              Mary Frances moved to Rolling Green Village, Greenville, South Carolina in 2010 and lived many happy years there until her move back to Illinois to be closer to her family in 2021. At Rolling Green Village, she taught the Bible Study, was active in the mission group and drama troupe, sang in the choir, wrote for the Village Voice, served on the Caring Committee, and was faithful in her friendship and service to others. Moving to The Windsor of Savoy, Savoy, Illinois in March 2021, she was active in her prayer group.

              Mary Frances was born into a musical family and learned to play the piano as a child, the oboe as a teenager, and the violin and organ as an adult. She was a singer at an early age and was asked to sing in churches and for civic and professional groups. She was an accomplished seamstress and cook and taught her family the true meaning of a home economist through her thrifty and prudent ways. Her family truly saw her as a Proverbs 31 woman who in season and out worked unto the Lord in every way she could.

              In addition to her parents and two husbands, she was preceded in death by her much-loved elder brother, Dr. Hugh Thomas McElrath and her sister-in-law, Ruth Garcia McElrath, who were formerly of Louisville, Kentucky; and two brothers-in-law, Rev. Law M. Mobley and Grover Smith, both formerly of Laurens, South Carolina.

              She is survived not only by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and stepfamily but also by her beloved older sister, Miriam Mobley Smith of Laurens, South Carolina and dear younger brother, William Nold McElrath and her sister-in-law, Betty Hendricks McElrath, both of Aiea, Hawaii; her sister-in-law, Dr. Peggy Cox Wayne of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; numerous nephews and nieces; and dear friends and fellow believers both here and around the world.

              A celebration funeral service will be held at 11: 00 a.m., Saturday, October 28, 2023, at the J.H. Churchill Funeral Home and Cremation Services with Rev. John Mobley officiating. A graveside service and burial will follow at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, October 28, 2023, in the Murray City Cemetery with Steve Street and Jeff Taylor officiating. A visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 28, 2023, at the J.H. Churchill Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 201 South Third Street, Murray, Kentucky.

              Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Chaplain’s Fund, %Rolling Green Village, #1 Hoke Smith Boulevard, Greenville, South Carolina 29615.

              Online condolences can be made at, www.jhchurchill.com

 

           

 

           

 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, October 28, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

J. H. Churchill Funeral Home

201 S 3rd St, Murray, KY 42071

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Funeral Service

Saturday, October 28, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

J. H. Churchill Funeral Home

201 S 3rd St, Murray, KY 42071

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Burial

Saturday, October 28, 2023

4:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

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