Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 17, 2012

Mary Athria Marney Baltzelle


Corsicana Daily Sun

— Mary Athria Marney Baltzelle, 80, died Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in Pompano Beach, Fla., of natural causes after surviving cancer three times in 50 years.

Born in Corsicana, Texas in 1932, Mary was a retired educator, who served as language arts curriculum supervisor for Broward County Public Schools. She retired as a secondary school teacher in 1995. Her teaching career spanned three decades, five years in Texas, with adjunct stints at Nova University and Broward Community College, both in South Florida.

Mary authored and edited hundreds of curriculum guides. She was a poet, avid reader, especially of the Bible, and dedicated letter writer.  

Mary moved to South Florida with her husband, Conner Baltzelle, of Fort Worth, in the 1950s to open Curtis Mathes TV franchises. They first met at a family gathering in Corsicana, during which Conner told her they would later marry.

They were married 18 years when Conner died in 1970.

Mary's upbringing amid farms and pecan groves carried over into her love of seashores and coconut palms.

Above all, Mary loved God and family, often telling funny stories about herself and loved ones. A favorite was how she regularly went through a drive-through for a slice of pie, or two, at Mother Butler's on U.S. 1 in Fort Lauderdale when she lived in Imperial Point in the mid 1970s. Once, she parked and went inside. There she overheard staffers laughing while talking about some woman who would go through the drive-through almost daily, buy pieces of pie and start eating one before she even left the parking lot.  

Her mother, Annie Marney, was principal of a one-room school house and also one of Texas' first special education teachers. Her father, William Marney, built the family home by hand and ran a Corsicana gas station where he talked to neighbors and gave children candy. An electrician, he once trick wired certain church pews for when the pastor asked those willing to tithe to stand.

She stayed in touch with her best friend since age 3, Ellen Jeanne Adair, up until Mary's last days.

Mary graduated early from high school and received her bachelor of arts, also early, cum laude, from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, on full scholarship. Her master's in English was from Kansas State University. Her educational specialist's degree was from Nova University.

Survivors include her daughter, Diane McWhirter, and her husband, John McWhirter, and grandson, Conner, all of Winter Park, Fla.; son, Jim Baltzelle and his wife, Rebecca Baltzelle, and granddaughters, Katie and Molly of Cooper City, Fla., as well as granddaughter Annie, mother to Mary's two great-granddaughters, Dahlia and Lily of Redding, Calif.

A memorial service, followed by a reception with light refreshments, will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 at Plantation United Methodist Church. A service also will be held at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 2013 at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, where Mary last resided.

Neptune Society of Pompano Beach is handling cremation.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested in Mary's memory to the Florida United Methodist Children's Home, 51 Children's Way, Enterprise, Fla. 32725.