Life is a journey, and to reach the ultimate destination is the greatest reward.
Our mother Mary Lavina Pruitt Boyd went to be with her Lord and Savior Monday, July 9, at the same family farm in Trent, TX where her husband passed away five years prior. She was 90-years-old.
Her life was synonymous with faith, devotion and strength surpassed by none; the strength it takes to devote yourself to your family, always putting their needs and wants ahead of your own. For Memo, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and now great-great-grandmother, the sacrifices were never a question, but a labor of love.
Before there was Martha Stewart or Paula Deen, there was Mary Boyd. She was creator of home-made bread and cinnamon rolls that were unmatched by any. Countless meals were set for business associates, dignitaries and many ranch hands and laborers, with no partiality in quality of the menu or warm western hospitality for either group.
We could not accurately figure the thousands of meals Mother prepared. We always had tasty, filling meals. We would get off the school bus to homemade doughnuts, cookies and other treats. Teachers loved having our mother, as the Room Mother.
She loved taking old farm houses and making them into homes. She was gifted in her creativity and had a flair for repurposing cast off items into works of art. Her lunch boxes at the church fundraisers were voted best and Christmas trees decorated with popcorn remembered for decades. She always knew exactly which child needed the “last piece of pie” and made them feel special for being the chosen recipient. She was as skilled as any certified accountant when it came to bookkeeping for the cattle operation and never missed a time at a rodeo for her husband, kids or grandkids. When one of the grandchildren wanted to enter a rodeo and was just a little shy on entry fee money, she always found a task where they could earn the money. She never turned down a collect phone call when a little girl would call from a barrel race, to let her Memo know she had won.
Our mother was brilliant, utterly sensible, passionate in her beliefs and fearless in letting you know them. She kept her head, but spoke her mind. She never held a paying job outside of the home, but received payment in pure love for the hardest job of all, that of a mother. She was God’s own masterpiece.
Mother was an avid reader, reading several novels each week. She loved stories of pioneer days and courageous heroines. She read the Word daily. She was a gifted writer as well, creating original stories for her grandchildren as they were growing up. Her great-grandchildren especially enjoyed the stories of Molly Anderson, her great-great-great-grandmother, who was the first and only woman to receive a land grant from Mexico when Texas was under Mexican rule before it became a republic. Mary was a modest woman, and did not like to draw attention to herself. One thing she did take pride in was, “knowing how to pick a good cow.” She loved the cattle industry, and one of her proudest moments was when she and John started JM Cattle Company, and she was surprised by the new brand, JM, for John and Mary. She was an active member of the Graham County Arizona Cowbelles Association, and started the chapter in Abilene, Tx. When consumers started boycotting high meat prices, she led the counter-campaign to promote beef and the beef industry.
Our mother was a survivor. She survived the drought of the 1950s, the fall of the cattle market in 1973, the Dairy Buy-out (that caused the beef market to plummet) in 1986 and when their family home was completely destroyed by fire in 1947 — and ultimately losing her husband and partner of 67 years. She survived raising nine children. One thing that will always stand out in our minds is through all the ups and downs of fluctuating commodity prices, droughts and diseases, she never complained.
Her secret was no secret. Once when asked if she could only give one piece of advice to someone, what would it be, her answer was, “Trust in Jesus with all your heart. He will take care of you.” She was strong in her beliefs, and she lived what she believed.
Few people knew that Mother was a certified bovine artificial insemination technician, that she owned a world champion barrel horse, or that one of her greatest joys in life came from walking the creek looking for baby calves. She became a great fan of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and was delighted to receive a personal birthday greeting from her favorite player, Josh Hamilton, on her recent 90th birthday.
Everyone knew she was a lady of class and dignity. She was admired for the way she loved her husband, and set an example her family tried to follow.
Freed from the stagnation of yesterday’s victories and the emotional paralysis of yesterday’s mistakes, Mother knew that the that the only thing that ultimately counted was knowing the Lord and being obedient to His will.
For Mary Pruitt Boyd it was all a part of the most fulfilling journey of all; truly knowing God, and the realization that the journey has not ended, but is just beginning.
Mary Lavina Pruitt was born June 4, 1922, in Jones County, Texas. She was the youngest of five children born to America Etta McCollum Pruitt and O.D. Pruitt.
She grew up in the Mt. Pleasant area south of Merkel, where she created lifelong friends with the Smith, Hogan, Wetzel, Kensey and Reidenbaugh families.
She married John F. Boyd on June 21, 1939, in Abilene, Tx. To this union of 67 years were born nine children. The Boyds farmed and ranched in the Merkel/Trent area, until 1953 when they moved to Southern Arizona, where they developed ranchland into productive farm land. In 1966 the Boyds returned to Merkel /Trent area where they ranched and operated JM Cattle Company, a stocker and feeder operation.
Mrs. Boyd was a member of the Trent United Methodist Church, where she was lay leader and long-time historian and teacher of the church. She compiled the complete history of the Trent United Methodist Church and was recognized by the Northwest Conference for doing so. Trent United Methodist Church was one of the few churches that had complete and accurate information. She also loved working at the Methodist Food Pantry in Abilene.
She was preceded in death by her husband John Boyd, her parents, three sisters and a brother. Survivors include sister, Nell Pruitt Weisbach of Boulder, CO; sister-in-law, Erma Faye Hughes of Merkel, children John Wayne Boyd of Trent, James and Jill Boyd of Merkel, Nelda and Jimmy Masonheimer of Pottsville, TX; Jenny and Bob Carothers of Florence, AL; Felix and Nancy Boyd of Early; Robert Boyd of Trent, William and Suzie Boyd of Merkel, Mary Beth Slaughter of Abilene, and Patricia Boyd Winter of Trent.
Also surviving are 19 grandchildren: Jay Boyd of San Angelo, Shannon Boyd of Merkel, Brooks Boyd of Trent, Brandon Boyd of Lufkin, Tanner Boyd of Merkel, Leslie Masonheimer-Crouch of Pottsville, Dee Dee Dobbs of Arlington, Luci Wilson of Trent, Jamie Masonheimer of Brady, Robyn Rose of Mussel Shoals, AL, Cameron Mull of Florence, AL, Michael Boyd of Abilene, Traci Boyd of Shinnston, W. V., Jenny Hogan of Trent, Cody Slaughter of San Angelo, Wendi Frasier of Cisco, Laramie Gorbett of Austin, Blair Dozier of Trent and Peyton Boyd of Abilene.
She is also survived by 35 great grandchildren and one great-great grandson, as well as 15 nieces and nephews.
The family asks that any memorials be made to the Trent United Methodist Church, marked specifically for further credit to the Methodist Food Pantry. That address is P.O. Box 65, Trent, Tx 79561.
Services will be held Wednesday, July 11, at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary of the United Methodist Church of Trent. Burial will follow at the Trent Garden of Memories Cemetery under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home. Clergy assisting will include Rev. Don Boren, Rev. Norman Patton and Rev. Chris Fobbs.