Mary Alice Hackney Sanders was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on November 2, 1938 to Paul and Alice Hackney. She attended Hattiesburg High School, where she played in the band and met her sweetheart, Jerry Sanders. Mary Alice attended college at The University of Southern Mississippi and then married her love, Jerry, on May 26, 1957. She worked in the library at Mississippi State University while Jerry completed his engineering degree.
Mary Alice was a wonderful, loving mother and a beloved Mimi. In 1958 Jerry and Mary Alice were blessed with their first child, Sharon Patricia Sanders, followed by the birth of their son, Charles Scott Sanders (Jewell) in 1961 and their daughter, Suzanne Sanders Joyner (John) in 1966. They were blessed with many grandchildren, including Charles Evans (Casey), Allison Leigh Weems (Bo), Justin Sanders (Angie), Mary Margaret Hill (Jamie), Brian Charles Sanders, Anna Claire Dumas (Ben) and CJ Joyner, as well as their great grandchildren Rhett & Bowen Weems and Jack Dumas.
Jerry enjoyed a long career as an engineer and manager with South Central Bell and as a Vice President of BellSouth Corporation. His career took the family to Chicago, Illinois, several parts of Mississippi (Gulfport, Meridian, and Jackson), Birmingham, Alabama, and finally, to Jacksonville, Florida, where they lived in The Plantation in Ponte Vedra Beach. They developed many close friends over the years and they loved spending time golfing, traveling, enjoying the beach and having fun with family and friends.
Mary Alice was a true Southern lady. She was known for her warmth and hospitality. She “never met a stranger” and made friends everywhere she went. Mary Alice loved decorating her home for every holiday and she was a wonderful hostess. One of her passions was gardening. Her rose garden in Birmingham and her gardens in The Plantation were her pride and joy. She loved giving beautiful bouquets of roses to family and friends.
Mary Alice was always involved in the community, giving generously of her time and finances to organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Girl Scouts, the Ponte Vedra Women’s Club, and Faithful Servant Ministries. Being involved in church work was a huge part of her life. Mary Alice grew up singing in the choir at Broad Street Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She taught Sunday School and was a youth leader for many years at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi and she also helped establish the prayer garden there. Mary Alice and Jerry were early members of Asbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and charter members of Ponte Vedra United Methodist Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where Mary Alice served on the Altar Guild and sang in the choir.
Mary Alice loved her family and friends deeply and her warmth and kindness will be missed by them every day. They are comforted by the fact that she is with Jesus in Heaven and that they will be together again one day. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” John 3:16
A celebration of Mary Alice’s life will be held at Ponte Vedra Church on February 19, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. (EST). The service will be live streamed for those unable to attend.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary Alice’s memory to Ponte Vedra Church, 76 South Roscoe Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, 32082. (website: pontevedra.church)