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Mary Alice Yelverton

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Mary Alice Yelverton

November 1, 1921 – August 22, 2021

 

Mary Alice Yelverton (nee Bennington) passed away on August 22, 2021, just three months shy of her 100th birthday.

Mary was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Ralph R. Bennington and Anna Spilker Bennington on November 1, 1921. Her family ran a hotel in Inver Grove, where they all lived. In 1931, she and her family later moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where she attended St. Mary’s School, Our Lady of Victory Academy, Paschal High School and later Texas Christian University. Her childhood was spent playing tennis, roller-skating, bicycling and watching free movies at the park with her friends.

When World War II broke out, Mary Alice volunteered at USO and the local Air Force base, serving refreshments to the soldiers traveling through. She once met actor William Holden as a volunteer and got to sit in his convertible to listen to a radio broadcast he had just recorded. She was a fan forever. Often, her family would host homesick soldiers for home-cooked meals and sing-alongs around the family piano.

During her single years, she was active in her sorority and helped to stage successful fund-raising shows. Always a fashionista, she modeled for Stanley Marcus of Neiman-Marcus at fashion shows in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She loved attending football games and cheering on Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker and other star college athletes of the day. She held jobs as an accounting clerk and secretary for the Soil Conservation Service and was hired as a secretary for the USAF Project Dallas, where she met her future husband and dashing Air Force officer, Captain Carl Yelverton.

She and Carl were married for 47 years. They married in 1954 in San Antonio, while he was still an officer in the Air Force. When he was stationed overseas on the island of Crete, she moved in with her parents in Dallas, while she was pregnant with her first child, daughter Melissa.

After her husband retired, they resumed living in San Antonio, where their second child was born, son Bobby. They enjoyed suburban life in San Antonio and made lots of friends in the neighborhood, where she began her love of antiques and restoring old furniture.  She always had an eye for spotting valuable collectibles of all kinds.

Over the years, she was known for her cooking and preparing delicious holiday meals and homemade birthday cakes. She also served as a Girl Scout leader and PTA room mom at the local elementary school.

In 1970, she and her family moved to Boerne to begin life in the country. With four acres, a Shetland pony, an orchard and a large garden, Mary Alice embraced small-town life, learning to make preserves and pickles, winning dozens of blue ribbons at the Kendall County Fair over the years and delighting friends and acquaintances with her delicious treats. She was a pet lover and cared for several dogs and cats over the years.

A devout Catholic, she had belonged to St. Peter’s Catholic Church since 1970 and served on several church committees over the years. Always active in her community, she was a member of the Boerne Reading Club, Green Things Garden, Boerne High School Booster Club and Boerne Band Boosters and was a charter member of the Boerne Historical Society. She helped put on several of their annual home tours.

An avid tennis player, she could often be found at Boerne High School tennis courts, playing against people 40 years her junior with whom she shared her tips and love of the game. She also enjoyed playing League Tennis at Fair Oaks Ranch Country Club, where her family was a member since 1977. She and her daughter won the club’s first Mother-Daughter doubles tournament.

After her children married and moved away, she began writing a weekly column in 1983 for The Boerne Star at the request of its editor, Ann McNair, who was later followed by Brian Cartwright. Her column, Mary Alice’s Potpourri, would appear weekly for more than 30 years. Readers voted her “Best Columnist” 11 times. Later, she wrote her column for the Hill Country Weekly. 

As Boerne’s biggest booster, she enjoyed sharing the wonderful features of life in Boerne through her column that allowed her to recognize local people and charities working to make life better in Boerne and beyond. She also shared her colorful antique postcards in her column to mark the various seasons and holidays. Along with health tips and words of wit and wisdom, she would always end her column with the phrase … “Bye for a while, share a smile.”

She enjoyed traveling with Boerne seniors and the Frost Bank First Ladies, including a trip to New York City in which her daughter was her roommate and companion. Never a shy one, she talked her way into the famous Russian Tea Room for dinner without a reservation and enjoyed visiting with Japanese tourists on the ferry to Ellis Island, posing for pictures at their request.

She always enjoyed meeting new people and made friends wherever she went. Over the years, she gained several celebrities and corporate CEOs as pen pals, including actors Katherine Hepburn and James Cagney, Southwest CEO and founder Herb Kelleher, energy magnate and philanthropist George Mitchell, Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, author/illustrator Susan Branch, cartoonists Rick Detorie and Bil Keane, champion golfers Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson and legendary trauma surgeon Dr. Red Duke. Her favorite singer was Tony Bennett, who she was pictured with outside of the Majestic Theater in San Antonio following one of his concerts. 

A doting grandmother, she and Carl traveled frequently to visit their grandchildren, attending their birthday parties, sporting events and concerts. When not buzzing around Boerne in her convertible VW Beetle or playing Bingo at the Rainbow Senior Center at Kronkosky Place, you could always find her at the Bear Moon Bakery having coffee and a muffin or dropping in for lunch at the Hungry Horse. She loved chatting with the tourists and sharing her favorite places to see in Boerne. She was instrumental in helping many new businesses get the recognition they needed with mentions in her column, as well as promoting charitable causes and cultural events. She reveled in being one of Boerne’s biggest boosters.

Over the years, she received recognition for her support of her community by various organizations. Longtime Boerne Mayor Patrick Heath honored her community service with a proclamation. Hermann Sons, Paul Vogt Lodge, honored her with its Humanitarian Award in 2011. She was chosen as honorary parade marshal in the 2012 Boerne’s Weinacht’s Christmas parade along with her good friend, Bob Hill. She was honored at the Health & Wholeness Center’s First Sweetheart Tea in 2013 and was nominated for a community service award from the Boerne Chamber of Commerce.

In 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, she was unable to celebrate her 99th birthday with a traditional party. Instead, she was honored with a drive-by parade comprised of several Kendall County deputies, family, friends and the entire staff of the Bear Moon Bakery. In her early 90s, she had earned the distinction of being the oldest graduate of the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy and served as secretary of the Senior Crime Stoppers.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Carl Yelverton; her brother, William Bennington; and sister Carol Bennington Andries. She is survived by her daughter, Melissa Landrum and husband Steve; son Carl Robert “Bobby” Yelverton Jr. and wife Tracy; plus grandchildren Grant, Blair and Cole Landrum, Kelsey Yelverton Richter and husband Logan and Mallory Yelverton Griffin and husband Garrett; plus great-grandchildren Lyla, L.J. and Luke Richter; along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Her family would like to extend its appreciation to the staff of Home Instead and the Cibolo Creek Health & Rehabilitation Center for helping to care for Mary Alice in her final years. Your kindness and compassion brought smiles to her face and joy to her heart. 

In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations be made to some of her favorite local charities:  Sam’s Kids Student Foundation, Attn:  Janet D’Spain, 235 Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006, or the Rainbow Senior Center at Kronkosky Place, visit www.rainbowseniorcenter.com or mail donations to 17 Old San Antonio Rd., Boerne, Texas 78006.

A visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home at 111 Rosewood with a Rosary at 6:30 p.m. A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 202 W. Kronkosky at Main St., Boerne, TX 78006. 

To leave condolences for the family and to view a video of Mary’s life, please visit www.ebensberger-fisher.com.Arrangements with Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home of Boerne.