Cover photo for Mary Lindsey Brookshire's Obituary
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1921 Mary Lindsey 2008

Mary Lindsey Brookshire

May 13, 1921 — June 3, 2008

Mary Lee Brookshire died June 3, 2008 of pancreatitis and associated complications; she was 87. She was preceded in death by her parents, Huff F. (?Muck?) Lindsey and Mary Davenport Lindsey, her beloved aunt Annie Davenport, her husband of 51 years Farris E. Brookshire, and her eldest son James F. (?Mark?) Brookshire. Born in the Dunnagan community outside of Dalton, GA, and reared in Okemah, OK, during the Dustbowl Years, Mary Lee returned to Dalton at 18 to work. It was there that she met Farris Brookshire, the outgoing former sailor who would become her husband in December 1940. With a wife to support and a child on the way, Farris rejoined the Navy in 1941, and was on active duty in the Panama Canal when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place on Dec. 7, 1941. Mark, their first son, was born the next day. Following WWII, the family moved to Savannah, GA. In 1947, a second son, David, arrived. Mary Lee?s life was full, taking care of her two rough-and-tumble boys, supporting her husband?s fledgling career in insurance sales, and pursuing courses and part-time work for her own betterment. The family moved to Albany, Waycross and finally Atlanta/Decatur as Farris?s insurance career progressed. 1958 presented Mary Lee with what could have been her greatest challenge had she not faced it so fearlessly. That year, she delivered her third and final child ? a beautiful baby girl with a curly lock of black hair on her head ? and Down Syndrome. When Mary Lee was encouraged by her pediatrician to never even hold the baby, to go ahead and institutionalize it as many parents did in those days, she changed doctors, and in the process changed her own life and that of countless other parents and developmentally disabled children and individuals in the state of Georgia and beyond. Mary Lee lovingly raised her daughter Laura in as normal an atmosphere and way as possible. She became a tireless fighter and advocate for the rights of the ?retarded,? as they were called in those days. She volunteered, spearheaded fundraising activities, served on monitoring boards ? anything to improve the opportunities for education, care and health of youngsters like Laura. In particular, Mary Lee was instrumental in the drive to establish group homes for developmentally disabled individuals. Mary Lee?s dedication and determination brought her in contact with many business leaders and politicians, including then Governor Jimmy Carter. In 1971, Mary Lee was named ?Outstanding Woman of the Year? by the Atlanta Association for Retarded Children. In 1976, Governor George Busby appointed Mary Lee to the State Planning and Advisory Council for Developmental Disabilities Services and Construction. From 1995 to 2002, the Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities (AADD) presented the ?Mary Lee Brookshire Volunteer of the Year Award? to the individual who best exemplified her. As the 1980s rolled around, Mary Lee decided that it was time to relax and enjoy life -- her family, hobbies and interests. Among her many talents were cooking, gardening and flower arranging. She also took an active part in the lives of her two grandsons. Mary Lee is survived by her son David and his wife Pat; daughter Laura; daughter-in-law Pat Barnes-Brookshire; grandsons Jeff and David, and their families, including great-grandson Farris; and Patrick, her beloved Jack Russell terrier. The body was cremated. A memorial service will be held in the chapel at A.S. Turner & Sons at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2008. The family will receive friends on Friday 6-8 p.m. and Saturday 3-4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Developmental Disabilities Ministries (DDM), 6320 Amherst Ct., Norcross, GA 30092 or www.ddmga.org/donations.htm. Interment of the cremains will be at a later date in Dalton, GA. A.S. Turner & Sons.

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