Mary Nell Hinkle, 92, passed away at home in Sanderson, Texas on March 31, 2020, one week after she lost her husband of 69 years, Lavoy Glen Hinkle.
The daughter of Clyde and Myrtle Carter Higgins was born Sept.17, 1927 at her grandmother’s home in Bowie, Texas. She and her older sister Margaret were raised on the family ranch in Terrell County. The family moved to town, Sanderson, in 1933 when Mary Nell entered the first grade. She graduated from Sanderson High School in 1944.
As a young person, Mary Nell contracted rheumatic fever. As a result, she underwent three heart valve replacement surgeries in her lifetime, the first by Dr. Michael DeBakey and the second by Dr. Denton Cooley, both in Houston, and the third in San Angelo in the early 1990s.
Mary Nell attended Hardin-Simmons University and Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine, Texas, where she met Lavoy Hinkle of Kermit, Texas. They were married at First United Methodist Church in Sanderson in November 1950. The early part of their marriage was spent in Kermit and on her family ranches in Terrell and Brewster counties. They moved to Sanderson when expecting their first child, and Lavoy went to work for the state highway department, and later, Southern Pacific Railroad. Mary Nell and Lavoy raised two sons, Glen Bob and Paul.
She enjoyed occasional substitute teaching, teaching piano lessons, and playing piano for the Methodist churches in Dryden and Sanderson. She and Doris Booker formed the Sanderson Kindergarten of Music, and for two years taught pre-school and first grade students the fundamentals of music, “a rewarding experience.” She also worked as a typist, and later as a deputy in the Terrell County Clerk’s office.
Reading was a favorite pastime. She also had a great reverence for preserving and honoring the past, and writing down history. She was an integral part of the committee that published the county history book, Terrell County, Its Past, Its People.
Mary Nell had a penchant for repurposing glassware, and furniture and clothing items, and liked knowing the provenance of things she collected. As an expert needlewoman, she enjoyed making clothing items for herself and her family. She also spent hours creating textile art in many different mediums, and was always interested in learning more and sharing her knowledge with others. She won many blue ribbons for her quilts and needlework creations entered in the annual Terrell County Fair.
In her later years, she enjoyed sharing her parents’ town house with others. She opened Granny’s Guest House, and welcomed many family members and travelers with open arms there.
The family ranch on the San Francisco Creek in Brewster County was always on her mind. She enjoyed nature, wildlife, wildflowers in the spring, and spending time there. She assisted her husband and her son, Glen Bob, with ranching most of her life.
She had a lifelong faithfulness to God, and was lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Sanderson.
Mary Nell was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her sister Margaret Higgins Davis, and her niece Paula Davis. She is survived by her sons, Glen Bob Hinkle and wife Christine of Sanderson, and Paul Hinkle and wife Ruth of Kerrville, Texas; grandchildren Marta Hinkle and husband Wes Creech of New Braunfels, Texas, Joseph Hinkle of Austin, Texas, and Evans Kott of Alpine; nephew Stephen Niccolls and wife Carol Struve of Kingston, New York; nieces Melissa Farley and husband Kevin, of Fort Stockton, Texas, and Amanda Waggoner of Abilene, Texas; four great nieces, and one great nephew.
The family extends special thanks to Pat Rivera, Tiffany McColley Lopez, and Alma Lopez for the dedication, skill, and kindness shown in their loving care of both Mary Nell and Lavoy. The family also thanks the staff of PCMH Home and Hospice and the staff of Focused Care for their care and compassion.
A private graveside service was held at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Sanderson with the Reverend Dick Zimmer officiating. A memorial service for both Mary Nell and Lavoy will be held at a later date at the First United Methodist Church.
Arrangements were with Heritage Funeral Home of the Big Bend, 301 North Main, Fort Stockton, Texas.
For those wishing to make memorial contributions, the family suggests First United Methodist Church of Sanderson, or a charity of choice.