Mary Bailey Cooler (95) of Ridgeland, died, peacefully, at the Medical University of South Carolina on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. She was the widow of Harry Benjamin Cooler, Jr.
Mary was born in Okatie, SC, on February 21, 1923. Her parents were Thaddeus Matthew Bailey, Sr., and Alma Woods Bailey.
She is survived by one brother, Thaddeus Matthew Bailey, Jr. (Nell), two daughters, Sandra Cooler Billeaud of Bluffton, SC, Mary Debra Cooler of Ridgeland, SC, and one granddaughter, Zanne Gregory Aaker (Tony), also of Bluffton, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mary grew up at "Bailey's Beach" in Okatie. At that time, Bailey's Beach was known for its white sand beaches, her family rental cabins, and Camp St Mary's. It was a popular destination for swimmers, church groups, and campers. Through her caring personality, ability to connect with others, quickly, and put them at ease, Mary cultivated life-long friendships throughout the region.
In her formative years, Mary attended Bluffton Schools and was a graduate of Ridgeland High School. Later, her generosity, quick-wit, and young-at-heart spirit, made her a popular Grade Mother for both daughters' classmates, grades 1-12.
Until her death, she was the oldest member of the Euhaw Baptist Church in Grahamville. As a young Christian woman, she was active in the Women's Missionary Union and taught the Juniors in Baptist Training Union and Vacation Bible School.
Mary was an avid reader and was instrumental in the Allendale, Beaufort, Jasper Counties Mobile Library expanding their routes, distributing books throughout the rural counties.
She volunteered as a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society. Little did she know, twelve years later, she would become a Breast Cancer Survivor herself.
A life-long learner, she took many advanced courses and even became a Dale Carnegie Course Graduate in her mid-eighties.
Mary was a "True Southern Lady", strong yet gentle, a homemaker, and was the "Heart of Our Family". She was loved by all, and many friends and extended family sought her wisdom and guidance. She enjoyed reading, dancing, swimming, and traveling, but, most of all, being with her family.
A wake for Mary will be held on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Sauls Funeral Home in Ridgeland. The funeral will be held at Ridgeland Baptist Church on Thursday, February 7, 2019, at 2:00 pm. She will be laid to rest next to her husband in the family plot in Grahamville Cemetery.
Memorials may be made in her memory to St Jude Children's Hospital at 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105, or to Grahamville Cemetery Fund, 35 Able's Drive, Ridgeland, SC 29936.