Mary Jane Person Walton, 93, passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning. After 55 years, she has rejoined her husband, William Carlisle Walton, Jr. who predeceased her in 1959. Single-handedly, she lovingly reared their four children: Patsy Collins (Tom) of Raleigh, Pam Bailey (Don) of Chapel Hill, Billy Walton (Toni Causby) of Greenville, and Lee Walton (Jane Covel) of Meridianville, AL. She was a beloved grandmother to eleven: Kimberly, Bethany, Lee, Lara, Rebecca, Nathaniel, Blake, Chad, Felicia, Josh and Cam; and great-grandmother to five: Eaden, Elsa, Sophia, Ella, and Kayla. Her children would especially like to express their amazement and gratitude that she had the love, persistence and fortitude to raise the four of them as a single mom.
Mary Jane was born in Newport News, Virginia to Wilmoth Hickman Person of Birmingham, AL and Charles Edwin Person of Williamsburg, VA. She was predeceased by a devoted brother, Charles E. Person of Birmingham. She was a graduate of North Fulton High School in Atlanta and Maryville College in Maryville, TN where she met and married her future husband, Carl, in December 1942, The couple later moved to Nutley, NJ then to Durham, NC to answer Carl’s call to the ministry. Mary Jane remained a faithful minister’s wife, supporting her husband every step of the way, until his tragic death in 1959. After his death, she continued to devote much of her time and energy to the church, especially the start-up of Benson Memorial Methodist in Raleigh.
In addition, she was active in PTA, Raleigh Homemakers Club, Bridge Club, Garden Club and her ever-treasured Discussion Group at Benson Memorial. After she retired from working at the NC State Milk Commission, she volunteered at the hospital, Dorcas Shop, Meals on Wheels, Special Olympics and other causes too numerous to list. However, nothing made her happier than holding a baby in her lap. It is fitting that at the hour she slipped away, a new great-granddaughter arrived.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 10, at 2:30 pm in the chapel at the Glenaire Continuing Care Retirement Community, Cary, NC. Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Mary Jane to the Special Olympics (www. specialolympics.org) or to Heifer International (www.heifer.org).
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