Mary Elizabeth Tipton
December 13, 1923 – May 16, 2018
Mary Elizabeth (DeMar) Tipton, 94, the matriarch of a large and loving family, succumbed on 16 May 2018 from complications following gall bladder surgery. Her family will miss her warm hugs, quick smiles and calming presence. She was the heart of the family. Born 13 December 1923 in Denton County, Texas, Mary was the first child of Leslie Franklin and Georgia Pearl (Johnson) DeMar. She grew up working in the family grocery store in Tioga, where she tallied bills of groceries in her head, well before the advent of scanners and automatic cash registers. With her expert skills honed by daily practice, she competed at the state level on a math team that beat schools much larger than her own two-room country school. She was always proud that her Class B school took second place in the competition. Despite her math skills and her pleas for higher education, her father sent Mary to beauty school instead of high school. She graduated and got her cosmetology license the month after she turned 16. That summer, on 13 August 1940, Mary eloped to Oklahoma to wed Kenneth Tipton, a neighbor she had known since 2nd grade. They were married for 62 years and 7 months when he died on 27 March 2003. Mary’s chief focus and joy was her family. A skilled seamstress, she sewed ruffled dresses for her two daughters when they were small, and made matching squaw skirts for herself and her girls when they were older. She excelled in the needlework skills she had been taught as a child in Texas. Mary was a consummate caregiver, not only for her three children, but for her extended family. She provided a warm and welcoming home for her mother and her mother-in-law when they were aged and infirm. She created a loving haven for her grandchildren, who delighted in going to see Grandma. Mary Tipton was a strong woman who valued honesty, hard work, truth and faith. She taught by example, providing a model of caring patience, careful listening, and clear expectations. Her emphasis on education was inculcated into generations of her descendants. Her family was everything to her, always the focus of her unconditional love. Throughout her long life, she maintained an abiding faith in the promise of eternal life and her eventual reunion with the many precious people she had survived. For over fifty years, Mary served as an officer in the Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF) of the Campbell Avenue Christian Church (now Larkspur Christian Church) of which she was a charter member. She was a Deacon for years, and was always ready to provide a worship or study lesson. In addition to her church activities, she was an active member of Isaac Women’s Club, and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She volunteered as Brownie leader, Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout den mother, and was a PTA member and room mother for every year her children were in school. Mary enjoyed picnics, camping, and was an avid hunter. Her husband taught her to shoot, and they raised their children on venison, antelope, elk and even buffalo meat that they had hunted. She was very proud of her trophy bull buffalo displayed on her living room wall – the largest buffalo taken in the state of Arizona that year. All their grandchildren looked forward to going camping and fishing with Grandma and Granddaddy in the summers, just as their parents had. Country-Western was Mary’s music of choice. Jim Reeves’ “Distant Drums” was her absolute favorite song. She enjoyed square dancing and house parties with her friends (the “Goettl Gang”), and being with family, whether in Texas, Arizona or California. Highlights of her travels include a rafting trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, a camping trip through Canada and the U.S. national parks, a cruise to Alaska, and a family reunion trek through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, of which she said “We saw more dead people than live ones!” (Cemetery visits were part of that itinerary.) She lived for seven years with her daughter, Eva, and son-in-law Edward Van Ess, following the sale of her home in Laveen. She appreciated their attention to her comfort and well-being, and enjoyed their company. Mary, an avid reader, loved spending afternoons in her recliner with the heroines of historical fiction, especially those stories set in Texas. Mary Tipton was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Leslie William “Bill” DeMar in 2000, her husband Kenneth Noel Tipton in 2003, and most of her good friends. She is survived by her sister, Dorothy (DeMar) Tennison, of Saginaw, Texas; by her children, Eva (Edward) Van Ess of New River, Arizona; Caroline (Ivan) Miller, of Monterey, California; and Jerry (Cindy) Tipton, of Gilbert, Arizona; grandchildren Victoria Kohles, Christopher Miller, Megan (Andy) Walker, Cynthia (Jason) Karner, Nicole (Joseph) Loupe, and Cortney Tipton, as well as Jami Van Ess; numerous great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren. The family wishes to thank Maria and Zeno at the North Star Care Home for their loving care during the past year, and the caring and capable staff at Honor Health John C. Lincoln hospital and the Sherman Hospice House. Services will be held on 24 May 2018 at the chapel of Greenwood Memory Lawn Mortuary, 719 North 27th Avenue, Phoenix, with burial to follow. Visitation will be one hour before the 10 a.m. services. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Friend Ships Unlimited (www.friendships.org), Hospice of the Valley, or Larkspur Christian Church’s building fund (larkspurchristianchurch.com).
- Visitation Thursday, May 24, 2018
- Funeral Service Thursday, May 24, 2018
Mary Elizabeth Tipton
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
receive updates when new memories are postedRECEIVE UPDATES