In memory of
MARY JACQ MCCULLOCH LAKELAND - On April 2020
MARY JACQ MCCULLOCH LAKELAND - On 21 April 2020, we lost our Mom to the COVID-19 pandemic at the age of 87. She will no doubt be added to the U.S. death toll which, at this writing, has surpassed 90,000 souls- each one mourned by someone. Mom was never one to shun the limelight, being too fun to avoid it, and so with your indulgence, we (her 3 children, Julie McCulloch-Brown, Karen McCulloch and Andrew McCulloch and 5 grandchildren) offer a snapshot of one of those souls in tribute, Mary Jacq McCulloch. Our Mom was a vivacious spark of life prone to dancing in grocery store aisles and chatting with complete strangers. No costume was too silly to wear, no song immune to a hearty vibrato. She was unabashedly a fan of Mickey Mouse, Neil Diamond, and George Gershwin, not necessarily in that order. She was both an immaculate dresser and a spend thrift. How she managed to dress so well and spend so little remains a mystery. Named Jacqueline Snow at birth, her 8-year old brother Hubert dubbed her 'Mary' instead. She was known as 'Mary Jacq' for the rest of her life, perfectly encapsulating the close bond she shared with her only sibling. As a true southerner from Birmingham, Alabama, she used rarely heard expletives such as 'Fiddlesticks!' 'Quit your bellyaching' and 'Well I vow!' She had a penchant for travel but preferred to experience new places not just see them- especially in Europe. When we lived in Austria, she bravely drove our Peugeot station wagon through downtown Vienna traffic and spoke German in a southern accent without shame. She was a high-ranking social butterfly - the multitude of club associations and honorary titles in her Birmingham-Southern College yearbooks attest to that. After earning a teaching degree, she became a PE teacher- a job only fitting for the truly extroverted. She married her college flame, a reticent physicist, Richard D. McCulloch- our Dad. In time, Mom's love of teaching became our boon. She taught us to sew and saved her fabric scraps for our creative projects. She took us swimming every day in the summer. She saved empty food containers from which we designed and staffed a pretend grocery store. Planning a party right down to the perfect party snacks was one of her specialties. We spent many an evening sneaking handfuls of Chex mix from the Bridge party table and later falling asleep to the sound of her friends' laughter. She was a lover of the outdoors - whether it was her own garden, a National Park with particularly challenging hiking trails, or perhaps her favorite, the beach. Mom taught us to love garden 'piddling' and to observe and savor nature's wonders. We will honor that quality in her with an outdoor sculpture installation in the University of Tennessee Arboretum near where we grew up and hiked with her many afternoons as children. With us kids grown and gone, our parents separated- as oil and water tend to do - leaving time for more 'Mary Jacq adventures.' She rode a camel in the Holy Land, kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland, and hiked the Grand Canyon- to name a few. The United Methodist Church community wherever she lived was her cornerstone. She was active through study, choir, service, and in her very vocation. She was a pre-school teacher and director of Christian education for United Methodist congregations first in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, next in Huntsville, Alabama, and finally in Winter Haven, Florida. As a church educator of more than thirty years, she had an impressive collection of jewelry and clothing for every conceivable holiday because her pre-school students loved it. Nor were the young the only beneficiaries of Mom's talents - into her 70s and early 80s, she continued to teach an exercise class for fellow church retirees to keep herself active and to show off her extensive seasonal sock collection. Teaching was quite simply her calling- one to which she was perfectly suited. Pun intended. We will honor her memory further with the 'Mary Jacq McCulloch Memorial Endowment for Christian Education' at St John's United Methodist Church, 1800 Cypress Gardens Blvd, Winter Haven, Florida 33884. Should you choose to assist us in remembering her by supporting this fund named in her memory, we feel certain that she would be 'tickled pink.' Mom laughed freely and left friends wherever she lived. Her neighbor of many years described her as 'a bright spot' and that she was. In her honor, if you are so inclined, she would be ever so pleased if you ate a big slice of Red Velvet cake.
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