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Mark Dewayne Harmon
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Mary Francis Gates

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Mary Frances Gates

August 9, 1931 – February 7, 2021


On February 7, 2021, Mary Francis Gates, née Brient, passed peacefully with family at her side. She is survived by her loving husband, George Arthur Gates; their children, Margaret Harmon, Drucilla Price, Andrew Gates, Tylden Shaeffer and Stacey Zottneck; and their eight grandchildren, Elijah Price, Emily Gates and Jacob Gates, Zachary Shaeffer and Mary Hannah Shaeffer, Arielle Zottneck, William Zottneck and Benjamin Zottneck; her younger brother, Charles Brient and his wife, Harolyn; and her sister-in-law, Mary Beth Brient.  She is predeceased by her parents, Samuel John and Lula Maude Hirsch Brient; her older brother, John Brient; and their son, Matthew Gates.

Mary Francis grew up in El Paso, Texas, where she was the city high school tennis champion. She graduated from Baylor University with a degree in childhood education. After graduation, she met and married Dr. Robert Joseph Shaeffer, and they eventually moved to Dallas where she taught kindergarten, later moving to Fort Worth.  

After Buddy and Mary’s divorce, she was introduced through mutual friends to a sailboat-loving doctor named George Gates, a Michigan transplant then living in San Antonio with his three children. She was swept off her feet by him, they married in 1972 and they blended their families “Brady Bunch” style in San Antonio.

Mary Francis became a master gardener and always had beautiful flowers and vegetables growing in her gardens despite the Texas heat. She loved to arrange flowers both for their home and for friends’ special events.  

Mary Francis enjoyed classical music and cooking, but her greatest joy was entertaining family and friends in their home. She and George hosted many dinners and events, including one for a local piano competition and the San Antonio Symphony and Opera. She also helped organize and plan the first San Antonio Symphony Belle Ball. George’s UTHSCSA medical residents recall the welcoming annual dinners at their home, and her children’s friends fondly remember the warmth and grace with which she welcomed them into her home.

After returning from Seattle, Washington, in 2006, she and George planned and built their dream house at Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas. There, they made many new and wonderful friends.  

Health concerns moved the two of them to the Village at Incarnate Word several years ago where they enjoyed the tremendous service and compassion from the residents and staff at the Village. 

The family wishes to give a special thanks to Eli and Esther, who cared for and comforted “Miss Mary.” They have a special place in the family’s heart for their service, companionship and compassion they showed to our mother. Additionally, the family wants to thank the entire staff and community at the Village for all of their wonderful care for our mother during this difficult past year.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that friends of Mary Francis donate to the “Mary’s Children” fund George is establishing at their church of many years, First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas, which will enhance the existing child education program at the church. Our mother adored children and always emphasized the importance of early child care and education.

We miss you dearly but know that you are now in God’s hands in the room that he has prepared for you.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 1, 2021, at 10 a.m. in the main sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church. The family asks that those who attend take proper precautions with distancing and masks. This service will also be live-steamed and can be viewed through the Porter Loring website at by clicking the church provided link. A graveside service will be held at the Boerne Cemetery will follow where friends are also welcome to attend.

You are invited to sign the Guestbook at

Arrangements with Porter Loring Mortuary, 1101 McCullough Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212, 210-227-8221.