ATHENS, Texas — Mary Luella Curl, 91, of Athens, Texas, passed away at 3:10 p.m. on September 2, 2021, at Cedar Lake Nursing Home, Malakoff, Texas.
Private family services will be held at a later date. Burial was at DeWitt Cemetery, DeWitt. Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, is in charge of arrangements.
Born inside the family farm house in DeWitt County, Ill., on February 20, 1930, Mary Luella Curl was the third of four children born to Claude Twain and Mary Edith (Harrold) Curl. Mary, with older brother Harrold, older sister Doris, and younger sister Martha, grew up (without indoor plumbing) to the natural rhythms of farm life, while attending the same one-room schoolhouse in the township.
Mary – “Lu” came from a long line of strong persevering women who rejoiced in the good times and endured the trials of hard times on the farm with her mother and grandmothers Araminta Melvina Nixon Harrold and Lucinda Elnora Tyler Curl—all born on frontier farms in the 1800s. Their first rule—always be your best, do your best, and look your best! For those who knew Lu, she followed this rule her entire life, and even when hampered by the adversities of age, she would respond cheerfully to all those around her.
Lu was only 12 years of age when her father died—an event that tested the entire family. Everyone pitched in beyond their daily chores and school work, brother Harrold took over management of the farm while her older sister Doris found work as a “wife’s helper.” These were difficult years, and the farm was sold in 1948. The family moved to Bourbonnais, Ill. to provide an opportunity for the children to attend Olivet Nazarene College. This event changed Lu’s life forever as she made a decision to attend a Mennonite Nursing School. Lu’s niece, Linda Andres, shared a special bond because they both graduated from that same school.
In 1955, Lu experienced more loss when her beloved sister Martha died from brain cancer. She then dedicated herself to the profession of nursing by obtaining a master’s degree in nursing and attained all the course work needed for a doctorate. However, Lu decided to concentrate on teaching nursing and never finished her dissertation for her PhD. She passed the passion for health care onto her favorite niece, Dianne Winne, M.D.
Lu just missed going to the 1960 Summer Olympics for Fencing. She qualified for the regional competition but found out that in order to compete for the U.S. Olympic team she needed to bring with her an extra set of fencing gear (foil and uniform). She was unable to find a sponsor to help her cover those costs, so her Olympic dream ended. However, she would “do her best” to enjoy life on her terms by joining shooting clubs, riding motorcycles, driving sporty cars, and going sailing with any person that offered a keelboat, dingy, or yacht. Lu made many life-long friends, but Betty Dunn, was Lu’s earthly angel, advocating for her even during Lu’s last hours.
Lu “settled” down in 1976 when she bought her house on Pollyanna Drive in Gun Barrel City, Texas. She adored her pet dogs and had her own sailboat and slip on Cedar Lake. She loved to talk nursing with anyone, especially other nurses. She worked as an in-home nurse for the homebound until the late 1990s.
The Lord renewed her spirit and brought her closer to Him as she stubbornly found herself losing her independence and being the last one in her family to remain on this earth. Lu was at peace when her Lord and Savior called her home on September 2, 2021. She went to be with all those that lived the faith and ran the race before her.
Online condolences may be made at www.calvertmemorial.com