Mary Ross Daniels

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Mary Vondell Ross Daniels on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. Born January 12, 1929, she was the last surviving child of Dr. and Mrs. T. E. Ross, Jr.

Mrs. Daniels attended local schools and the University of Tennessee before transferring to Mississippi Southern College (USM) where she earned a B.S. in 1950. While at Southern she helped found and continued to support the chapter of Phi Mu Fraternity (sorority). During her senior year she was named Most Beautiful by John Robert Powers of the John Robert Powers Modeling Agency, New York. Mary was Queen of Zeus for the Carnival season in 1950 and was later Miss Hospitality for the City of Hattiesburg.

In February 1953 Mary married 1st Lieutenant USAF James E. Daniels. Theirs was an extremely happy marriage, but it was sadly cut short by his death while on active duty in 1955. Their young son, Jimmy, Jr., was always the light of her life.

Returning to the family home in Hattiesburg she immersed herself in family activities, church work, and many volunteer organizations including Methodist Hospital Auxiliary, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and many activities at First Baptist Church where she was the church hostess for nearly 20 years. Additionally, she was one of the founding members of the Hattiesburg Historical Society and was a life member.

Blessed with a “servant heart”, Mrs. Daniels cared for her parents as they aged and brought peace and comfort to her son, Jimmy, before his death. Her proudest title was “mother”, and she said it was enough that she was always known as “Jimmy’s mother.”

In younger years, Mary was an accomplished pianist and played for many events. Throughout her life, her love of music and poetry played a pivotal role. She quoted poetry almost daily and was happy to pass on this love to her niece, Kym.

Wrapped in the mantel of her faith in God, she was given the grace to endure the many losses in her life. Always gracious, Mrs. Daniels never revealed the depth of her sorrows. The way she lived was testament to her abiding faith and trust that she was protected and sheltered. Indeed, all was well with her soul. The tapestry of her life is rich with family and friends, inner strength, countless acts of kindness and love all bound with courage, patience, wisdom, devotion, affection, and faithfulness.

Mrs. Daniels was preceded in death by her husband, 1st Lieutenant James E. Daniels, Sr., her son, James E. Daniels, Jr.,  her parents, Dr. and Mrs. T. E. Ross, Jr., her older sister, Betty Ross-Thomson, and her younger brother, Dr. T. E. Ross, III. She is survived by her niece, Kym Ross Waldrop, the daughter of her heart, as well as much loved nieces Marianne Powers, Carolyn Bedenbaugh, and Patricia Ross. In addition, she is survived by her sister-in-law, Charlotte Daniels Dale (James).

Special thanks go to Karen Anderson, Netha Harris, and Hope Smith who helped care for her over the past year and a half.

There will be a graveside service at the family plot in Highland Cemetery on Friday, May 15th at 2:00 p.m. It is hoped that we will be able to have a memorial to celebrate her life once Covid-19 abates.

Mary Ross Daniels touched many lives, and she will continue to bless us with the memory of her strength, faithfulness, and love, never wavering and always unconditional. The depth of our grief is measured by the depth of love. Though we are bereft, we know with conviction that she is in the I Am’s keep and safely within the embrace of the family she so loved and longed for.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”- “Hallowed Ground” by Thomas Campbell