She was born in October of 1930 to Richard and Madeline Collins, whose families were among the first pioneers who had settled in San Benito in 1908 and 1917 respectively.
Mary Catherine was married to her high school sweetheart, Tom Lovett, on June 15, 1950, in the First United Methodist Church of San Benito. The ceremony was performed by Rev. G.A. Shulze and Rev. Chas. Robinson (the newly arrived Presbyterian minister). Tom and Mary Catherine were lifelong residents of San Benito, where they raised their three children, Lin, Dolly, and Tommy. They delighted in the birth of their three grandchildren, James Thomas, Carrie Lynn, and Annie Laurie. Mary Catherine survived to see al three graduated from college and this past summer enjoyed the wedding of her granddaughter Carrie Lynn.
Education was important in Mary Catherine’s life. She attended Landrum Elementary and graduated from San Benito High School in 1947 where she was voted as the girl with the best personality. She continued her education at Brownsville Junior College and later completed a degree in elementary education at Pan American University while simultaneously beginning her teacher career. Her teaching career spanned 30 years and she was certified in elementary, kindergarten, and bilingual education. She taught both in San Benito and Harlingen schools districts. Her dedication to teaching inspired both of her daughters, Lin and Dolly, to become teachers, and touched the lives of many children.
Mary Catherine was an active member of the First United Methodist Church throughout her life. Her church life and faith in the Lord were very important to her. She served many leadership roles including president of the United Methodist Women and fellowship committee chairman, organizing many of the church’s gatherings. Following retirement, she organized and directed a mother’s day out program at the church. In 1996 she was named Lay person of the Year. In addition she always delighted in the return of winter Texans to church, many of whom she counted as dear friends.
She enjoyed being an active member of the San Benito Historical Society which often relied on her keen memory for recollection of the early days in San Benito. She worked diligently with other society members to produce a book about San Benito and was an eager pecan salesman in their annual fundraiser. She served in various offices and was an active member of PEO where she made many friendships she truly cherished. The monthly gathering of the Greyhound Reunion Group was another activity Mary Catherine relished as a chance to meet with friends.
Mary Catherine loved everyone she met, having the uncanny ability to overlook or forgive our flaws. If Mary Catherine didn’t love you, she just hadn’t met you yet. Although Mary Catherine collected demitasse silver spoons and china cups, her much larger collection was that of friends and loved ones. She truly cherished her friends and loved one and always made sure they knew it. We will miss her beautiful smile always accompanied by that twinkle in her eyes. We will miss that great laugh. We will miss Mary Catherine, but always carry her gifts in our hearts. In her own words to her daughters, “I just want you to thank everyone for loving me so, so much, and tell them I love them right back.”
Mary Catherine was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas K. Lovett and son, Tommy.
Survivors include her daughter Lin and husband Ray Worsham of Elgin, and daughter Dolly Lovett of San Benito; her grandchildren James Worsham of Odessa, Carrie and husband Ryan Byrne of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Annie Worsham of Round rock; sister Jane Collins and husband Rex Bell of Dallas; sisters-in-law Sissy Landrum of San Benito and Joyce Bobo of Bulverde. She is also survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A visitation will be held at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home from 12 to 9 PM on Wednesday, December 3 with the family receiving from 4 to 7 PM.
A celebration of Mary Catherine’s life will be held at the First United Methodist Church of San Benito at 10 AM Thursday, December 4, 2014 followed by a graveside service at Mont Meta Memorial Park. Services will be led by Pastor Melissa Nelson and the Rev. Dr. John Teer.
Pallbearers will be Bob Bowie, Richard Bell, Ronald Bell, Dalton Hobbs, Lou Floetker, Huck Nelson.
Honorary pallbearers will be Rex Bell, Dick Welch, and A.G. “Mickey” Riley.
Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of San Benito, 400 N. Sam Houston, San Benito, TX 78586 or the San Benito Historical Society, c/o Sandra Tumberlinson, 1500 Zillock Road, San Benito, Texas 78586.