By Faye Gaston
Members of the Chunnenuggee Garden Club were honorary pallbearers for the funeral of Mary Richards on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at Hopewell United Methodist Church. They sat together up front as a group during the funeral and then helped to serve lunch. The club is a federated garden club which means it works among garden clubs all over Alabama to follow guidelines for goals that are also competitive.
Mary Richards was a long time member of the garden club, serving as an officer in several capacities that include club president. Under her leadership as president the club earned a “Distinguished Garden Club” status having completed requirements of the Garden Club of Alabama, Inc.
She had already secured a location for the garden club to be host to garden clubs in District VII in October 2020 when about 80 women from several cities would meet in Union Springs. She had arranged for the preparation of lunch and also got the location free of rental fees.
Mary was a regular winner for flower arrangements at monthly club meetings that followed a specific category each month. She helped to maintain the shrubs and flowers at the plot on the Peachburg Road that was the entrance to the historic public garden that originated in the 1850’s by the garden club, the oldest continuous garden club in America. She helped maintain the flower beds at the Red Door Theatre and the Library.
Because of her small size she was able to get in the display window of the Union Springs Pharmacy to arrange articles in the displays the club did for Veterans Day and Field Trials.
She was a gracious hostess to club members for several annual Christmas parties when her home was decorated for Christmas. One memorable Christmas she told about the Christian meaning of items used in Christmas decorations.
She made “Chrismon” ornaments for the Christmas tree the club decorated each December at the Senior Citizens Nutrition Center. These were gold and white Christian symbols that took her about an hour each to make them.
She was chairman of the recent poster contest at the Christian School for the Prevent Forest WildFires with the Smokey Bear theme.
All the programs she presented to the club were evidently carefully researched. The last program she presented was at the February 2020 meeting where she shared preserved moths in her program about pollination of plants.
Club members were honored to be “honorary pallbearers” at the celebration of Mary’s life at the church she loved during her memorial service. We will miss Mary Richards, but believe we will see Mary again in the presence of the God she honored here on earth.