After a lifetime of service and devotion to those around her, Mary Simon Douglass is 100 years old today—August 17, 2013. One can only imagine all she has witnessed in her lifetime—World Wars I and II, The Great Depression, washing machines, cell phones, television, air and space travel, computers—the list is endless.
Growing up in California, Mary met her future husband, Robert Owen Douglass, while they attended the University of Redlands. They shared a birthday—both were born August 17, only he was three years older. She graduated from the college in 1934 and sought employment through social services until she married Owen the following year—April 13, 1935. In 1936 their first son, Bob, was born. David came four years later.
While Mary raised their boys, Owen worked for Standard Oil. After eight years with the company, he was promoted to a managerial position at a major service station when he sensed God’s call upon his life. He attended Talbot Theological Seminary, a part of Biola University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) and was ordained at First Baptist Church of El Cajon, California. From seminary, Owen began ministry at Trinity Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
Now a pastor’s wife, with all the responsibilities that title entailed, Mary also taught piano lessons to private students. Carol Fisher, of Pendleton, OR who took lessons from Mary, remembers her as a special teacher.
Kathy Stubbert of Eugene, OR received a baby blanket Mary made for Kathy’s firstborn, an item she still has. Kathy writes, “I think I never really used it because it was just so pretty and I didn’t want spit-up on it. How impractical is that, when I remember Mary as such a practical woman—a sweet, endearing friend to a young mom.”
Over thirty-plus years, the Douglass family served in Conservative Baptist churches in Globe and Yuma, Arizona; Bell, California; and Gresham, Springfield, Pendleton, and Eugene, Oregon—seven congregations in all. At the age of 65, when most men are retiring, Owen formed Nursing Home Ministries (NHM). With Mary at his side, they remained with NHM twenty-five years. Owen died in 2006. Son Bob died in 1974.
In Proverbs 31: 10-12 and 30, God’s word tells us: (NKJV) “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. . . .
(30) Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she will be praised.”
Happy Birthday, Mary, and thanks for being the godly woman you are.