Huntsville native, owner “The Whislter B&B”
Services for Mary Mabel Thomason Clegg will be conducted Thursday, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 106 Sam Houston Ave., Huntsville. She wil lie in state at Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home, 1700 Normal park Dr., from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
Mrs. Clegg, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 at her ancestral family home, “The Whistler,” in Huntsville.
She was born August 16, 1926 in Huntsvilleto Delha Marguerite Eastham and James Hendon Thomason. She grew up in Huntsville, but spent part of her childhood in Orange, Texas where her father was employed by the Lutcher-Moore Lumber Company during the Depression.
A graduate of Huntsville High School, she attended Sam Houston State Teachers College, as well as The University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and Nutrition. She then spent a summer at the Juilliard School in New York City, studying piano and maintained a lifelong love of music.
She married Jacob “Jake” Pope Barnes Clegg, Jr., a WWII veteran, of Trinity, Texas on May 29, 1948, at her family home in Huntsville. In 1956, Mary Mabel and Jake moved to Houston with their young family of four daughters. She loved being his copilot in life and in the skies, whenever he flew the plane for their family vacations, due to having earned his private pilot’s license years before.
Already a busy homemaker, Mary Mabel became a licensed real estate agent and then broker for over 50 years, established her own successful real estate company and became affectionately known to her family, friends and clients as “Mary T”.
She served as president of the Women of the Church at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, then became a member at First Presbyterian Church of Houston and was a charter member of Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church. While living in Huntsville she attended First United Methodist Church and enjoyed her JOY Sunday School class. Mary Mabel also served as Girl Scout Leader, president of her Alpha Phi Alumni Association, Regent of the John McKnitt Alexander Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas, president of the Late Bloomers Garden Club, and longtime member of the Briar Club and the Houston Club.
Ever the industrious, determined and creative businesswoman, genially referred to by her family and friends as “The Energizer Bunny,” Mary took on yet another new role from 1986 to 2016, as innkeeper with the utmost in Southern hospitality, when she established her ancestral family home in Huntsville as a Bed and Breakfast which she had elegantly and lovingly restored. She christened it “The Whistler,” in loving memory of her maternal grandfather, Braxton Alston Eastham. One of her earliest memories of him was his talented gift of whistling tuneful melodies.
Built in 1859, the home was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1989 and is a Texas Century Ranch which certifies that it has been maintained in continuous operation for more than 100 years by the same family.
Mary Mabel never met a stranger. She loved to welcome people into her historical family home turned B&B, and, as a natural born storyteller, delighted her guests by bringing the home’s rich history and her interesting family heritage to life. She was a walking, talking connection to our American past, part of The Greatest Generation.
She is preceded in death by her one and only dear husband of 38 years, Jake, with whom she shared a sense of adventure and a love of travel; her two brothers, Braxton Hendon Thomason, Rawle Buckner Thomason, and her sister, Julia Marguerite Thomason Glass. She is survived by her four daughters: Elizabeth “Liz” Clegg Woodard and husband Donald “Woody”, Mary Virginia Clegg Kokot, Catherine Clegg Massey and husband Sam, Julia Clegg Sansevere and husband Richard. Mary Mabel rejoiced over each addition to her family, beginning with her 7 grandchildren: Mary Woodard Smith and husband Jonathan, Catherine Woodard Fox and husband Brian, Dr. Julia Woodard Tripple and husband Bob, Georgia Kokot, Jake Kokot, Katharine Kokot, and Michael Kokot; 9 great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.
In Mary Mabel’s later years, she continued to travel with family and friends, always looking forward to new experiences. Her love of life never waned. She had a vivacious personality with a beautiful, infectious smile that lit up any room she entered, had an incredibly happy and positive disposition and energy, and was strong in spirit, courage, intelligence and wit. She was always impeccably dressed, known for her love of all things pink and sparkly. She was truly an inspiration to all and always left quite an impression on those who met her.
The family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude to her constant companion and caregiver of three years, Erica Rivas, as well as her other devoted caregivers, Veronica Sanchez and Alejandra Martinez for their kindness and compassion.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations be made to the Missions Ministry at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church (CEPC). Please make checks payable to CEPC with “Missions/Mary Clegg” in the memo line and mail to CEPC, 8300 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77024.
Tributes may be shared at www.shmfh.com