Gardening 09

Mary Evelyn (Johnson) Emerson

November 16, 1930 ~ April 12, 2021 (age 90)


Mary Evelyn Emerson age 90, of Adrian, passed away peacefully April 12, 2021 with loving care from the staff at Lenawee Medical Care Facility and Hospice of Lenawee. Mary came from very humble beginnings, born at home on November 16th 1930 in Chicken Foot Ridge, Alabama. The second daughter of Ernest Edward Johnson and Jessie Mae (Brownfield) Johnson. She arrived by way of a midwife named Mrs. Peacock. Mary Evelyn was taught how to pick cotton at age five by her Uncle Louis. She was a southpaw but back then this was perceived as a deficit, and as such had her left hand put in a tobacco sack so she could learn to be right handed. Mary and her family moved frequently, so she went to many different schools. Mary arrived in Adrian Michigan at age 16. Her father put her up at a boarding house and Mary, a self starter, began work at various factories in the area. While working, she returned to school part time and graduated sometime later from Adrian High School, and then Cleary Business College. Mary was very active and proud to be a life-long Democrat serving as the Lenawee County Democratic Party Chair for several years, and attended National Conventions in 1968 and 1976 as a delegate. She was invited to and attended the White House on May 2nd of 1964 to be recognized for her efforts. She fought with the heart of a lion in the struggle to advocate for hardworking people everywhere like herself, and especially members of labor unions that supported this cause. Mary was appointed and served as Branch Manager for the Secretary of State at the old Masonic temple building in downtown Adrian for approximately 15 years with the motto, treat people the way you would want to be treated. She instituted an express line for local car dealers so they could keep their businesses moving smoothly. Later Mary sold real estate for Abraham Linehan and made great friends in Richard Abraham and Betty Botkin, whose friendship remained. Mary was a firebrand in a man's world and would speak her mind for what she thought was right. Mary was a tireless worker with great business sense, but more than anything, she loved and cherished her family deeply. For better or worse most people rarely wondered where they stood with Mary. She is survived by her big sister Anne Pearl Kennedy of Mt. Olive Alabama, two sons Kent and Kirk (Amy) Emerson, seven grandchildren Brooke (Gilbert) Nieto, Dr. Jessica Emerson, Robert (Robin Castro) Emerson, Adam (Jen) Emerson, Christopher (Heather) Emerson, Austin Emerson and Carly Emerson, 11 great grandchildren Bree, Mercedes, Tatelynn, Skylee, Logan, Rylee, Alyvia, Layne, Maddox, Layla, Lennox and great great grandchild Neveh. So very many Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews, both living and not, who so very much enriched her life, and whom she clearly influenced as well. Per Mary's wishes cremation has taken place and private burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery next to her Dear Uncle Johnny and Aunt Norma Johnson.  A memorial service will take place at J. Gilbert Purse Funeral Home, 2959 N. Adrian Hwy, Adrian, MI, on Thursday April 22, 3-6 pm.  Please consider memorial contributions to Hospice of Lenawee.

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Memorial Gathering
April 22, 2021

2:59 PM to 6:00 PM
J. Gilbert Purse Funeral Home
2959 N. Adrian Hwy
Adrian, MI 49221

Cremation Has Taken Place

Private Burial

Oakwood Cemetery
333 East Siena Heights Drive
Adrian, MI 49221


Hospice of Lenawee
1903 Wolf Creek Hwy, Adrian MI 49221
Tel: 1-517-263-2323

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