Mary Ellen Beggs, 93, of Harrisburg, passed away at 6:35 p.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013, at the Harrisburg Medical Center.
Mary Ellen (Johns) Beggs was born Nov. 3, 1919, on the family farm just north of Hickory Hill Church in Hamilton County to the late Samuel L. and Caroline (Irvin) Johns. She married Carl D. Beggs on May 25, 1944, who preceded her in death on May 13, 1966.
Mary Ellen attended and graduated from Walpole Grade School, Barefoot School District 52, and was Valedictorian at McLeansboro High School (class of 1937). She earned her bachelor’s degree (‘41) and her master’s degree (‘63) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. "Mrs. Beggs," as most knew her, was a school teacher and the epitome of an educator, beginning her teaching career in 1941 at Carrier Mills High School. She was then hired to teach math at Harrisburg Township High School in 1951. Throughout the years, she taught adult education night classes at Southeastern Illinois Jr. College and was responsible for many individuals attaining their GED. She retired as head of the math department at Harrisburg High School in 1986. Mary Ellen loved people and loved helping people. She enjoyed sewing, cooking (rarely using a recipe), making “scrubbies” (for which she was known far and wide, always carrying two or three in her purse), watching any television show with Andy Griffith or James Garner, and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren.
She was actively involved in Delta Kappa Gamma (Psi Chapter), the Gallatin-Saline Retired Teachers Association for many years, and was a life member of the National Education Association. Mary Ellen was chosen “Woman of the Year” by the Harrisburg Business and Professional Women’s Club. She was passionate about SARC, serving as president since 1966. She was a charter board member for Coleman Tri-County Services and, upon stepping down, was named Board Member Emeritus. Mary Ellen was a member of First Baptist Church of Harrisburg, where she was a former Sunday School teacher.
Mary Ellen is survived by her son, Sam Beggs, and his wife Mary Lynn of Harrisburg; her daughter, DrexEllen Armstrong, and her husband David of Rochester; four grandchildren, Katy (Javier) Sobrado of Coral Gables, Fla., Ashton Beggs of Nashville, Tenn., Ben Beggs of Harrisburg, and Laura (Andy) Mitkos of Chatham; two sisters, Floye Delap of Broughton and Frona Mae Sherrod of Des Moines, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews. She held a special fondness for her caregivers, Wanda Potts, Loretta Crunk and Janet Maxfield.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Sam and Caroline; husband Carl; one brother, Charles Johns; and a very special friend, Geneva Mitchell.
“God couldn’t be everywhere so He created mothers.”
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at Reed Funeral Chapel in Harrisburg. The Rev. Don Nelson will officiate. Burial will follow in Sunset Lawn Cemetery in Harrisburg. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at Reed Funeral Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to HMC Foundation, Hospice of Southern Illinois, Inc., or SARC. Memorial contribution envelopes will be available at Reed Funeral Chapel.
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