Mary Frances Anderson Miner
November 19, 1923 – July 12, 2023
Mary Frances Anderson Miner transitioned into eternal and infinite love on the morning of July 12, 2023 at the age of 99. Mary was born on November 19, 1923, in Greenville, Georgia, the third child of Charles William and Myrtice Anderson. She grew up in Harris City, thriving in a community of modest means. Reflecting on her early life she often noted that, “we didn’t know we were poor because that’s just how everybody was. You made the most from what you did have.” That lesson ran deep for her, and she lived life every day with a contagious sense of abundance, spreading love and generosity everywhere she went.
She met her beloved husband, Lawrence Roy “Skeet” Miner, Jr. while on a double blind date, arranged by friends. Although they were not matched during that date, she and Skeet paired up soon thereafter. After graduating from high school and as World War II spread, Mary worked for the draft board in the Greenville County courthouse conducting the heart-wrenching clerical work that sent many of her friends and neighbors off to fight in the war. Skeet was drafted into the army in 1944. During a handful of days off between basic training and deployment, he and Mary decided to get married. They gathered a few witnesses on a Thursday evening and drove to Manchester looking for a pastor. On September 14, 1944, they began their nearly 79-year marriage with a simple ceremony in the living room of the parsonage.
During the War Mary spent much time with her best friend Josephine Wright and her in-laws, Lawrence Roy, Sr. and Angie Miner, in Talbotton. She and Skeet exchanged many letters that they held dear, preserving them for the rest of their lives. Once Skeet returned home, he and Mary moved to Talladega, AL for Skeet’s position with the railroad. The railroad would later take them to many other towns across the South, beginning with Woodbury, GA where they were blessed with the birth of their only daughter, Linda. The family of three also lived in LaGrange and Tifton Georgia before moving to Sanford, FL and then Tampa as Skeet’s railroad opportunities grew.
In each of these places Mary operated as the chief social officer for the family, knitting them into local life by joining a bridge club, a local church, and singing in the choir, among other volunteer activities. With her electric personality and her ability to empathetically listen she built friendships that spanned across towns and decades. Mary made every new house a true home for the family—a peaceful retreat. She cherished and lived by the words “home is where the heart is.”
After Linda began college Mary and Skeet moved to Columbia, South Carolina, where they lived for over two decades. It was while in Columbia that Mary became a grandmother and she and Skeet built their retired life. When Skeet’s parents passed away, Mary and Skeet decided to move to the family property in Talbotton, re-establishing their lives in the town where Skeet grew up and living among family and old friends in the restful country landscape. They remained in Talbotton until they were in their early nineties. In 2015 Mary suffered a broken hip and required greater accessibility. They then moved to Covenant Woods where they met a welcoming community of friends, neighbors, and cherished caregivers who watched over Mary until her last breath.
Mary was a woman of immense talent who excelled at anything she put her hands to. She could listen to any song and immediately play it by ear on the piano. She mastered Southern cooking with such skill that no restaurant could match her green beans, collards, cornbread, fried okra, or baked yellow squash. Her country breakfasts—the centerpiece of which were from-scratch, buttermilk biscuits—have become a staple of family gatherings across generations. She made a repertoire of confections that outshined even the most anticipated gifts at birthdays and holidays: fresh fig and peach preserves, amalgamation and caramel layer cakes, pound cakes, fruit cakes, and dozens of Christmas cookies from thumbprints, to gingerbread, to forgotten kisses.
Above all, her most enduring and expressive artistic outlet was her love and mastery of watercolor painting. In late 1975 at age 52 Mary enrolled in a painting class at the suggestion of her daughter, who was moving away and thought she could use a new hobby. It was through this class that her life took on new dimension through the creative work of painting. She experimented with oil and acrylic, but fell deeply in love with the delicate, temperamental touch of watercolor. Mary was a dedicated and prolific artist who completed hundreds of works of art. She painted cascades of blossoming flowers and sweeping landscapes with bright and moody skies. She loved to paint buildings—capturing their angles and shadows with architectural precision. Her series of railroad paintings—engines, cabooses, stations, and other elements of the maintenance of way—were a loving homage to both Skeet’s and his father’s lifelong work. Perhaps most of all, though, Mary loved to paint barns. She and Skeet would take long road trips across the American countryside in their 1985 Pontiac Parisienne station wagon, stopping at every bucolic, decaying, or bright red barn to capture a photo that Mary would later spend hours painting. She sold her paintings (custom framed by Skeet) in shops and art shows across South Carolina and Georgia, but she delighted most in giving her work to people she loved, having been inspired by something they were interested in or a meaningful building. Mary’s paintings hang in the homes of many of her friends, family, and loved ones, who cherish them as testaments to her glorious, beautiful, and loving spirit.
Mary was preceded in death by her sister Julia, and her brothers Wallace and C.W. (“Dub”). She is survived and remembered lovingly by her husband Skeet; her daughter Linda; her son-in-law Richard; her grandchildren Rachel, Noel, Sarah, and Max; her great-grandchildren Delaila, Daniel, and Sidney Bell; and the many friends and family who lived in the sprawling circle of her abundant love. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be sent to Koinonia Farm: 1324 GA Hwy 49 South, Americus, GA 31719; https://www.koinoniafarm.org/donate/; [email protected]; 877.738.1741.
Graveside services will be held at Kate Smith-Battle Memorial Park (formerly known as Talbotton City Cemetery), 311 Clark St, Talbotton, GA, on Saturday, July 22, 2023 beginning at 11:00 AM with Rebecca Spurrier and Silas Allard officiating. Directions to the cemetery are listed below. Final arrangements are being handled through Vance Brooks Funeral Home in Columbus, GA.
Directions to Kate Smith-Battle Memorial Park (formerly known as Talbotton City Cemetery) in Talbotton, GA…
– Take Manchester Expressway (Hwy 27) towards Midland/Waverly Hall
– Turn Right onto Hwy 315
– Turn Right onto Hwy 208
– Drive until you have entered Talbotton, GA
– Turn Right at first traffic light
– Turn Left onto Hwy 96
– Cross over railroad tracks, drive a short distance, cemetery will be on the Right