Mary Jane Beard Rayner, age 93, of Anahuac, Texas, went to be with her Lord and Savior, on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at Swan Manor Memory Care Facility after a four year battle with Dementia. She was born in Rosenberg, Texas, on October 7, 1928 to Shirley Austin Beard, Sr. and Etta Crook Beard and was reared on the historic family ranch outside Needville, Texas. Mary was married to the love of her life, Wilborn Rayner, who preceded her in death on January 19, 1980, after twenty-four years of marriage.
Mary was a proud descendent of Austin’s Old Three Hundred, original settlers of Texas, and the several removed granddaughter of Andrew Jackson Beard who fought at San Jacinto. Her ancestors were active participants in the Texas Revolution, which made her a proud Texan.
Prior to marriage, Mary was a teacher having earned her degree at the University of Houston. She taught in Richmond and then went to Anahuac where she taught second grade before meeting Wilborn and then retired to raise her children.
Although Mary suffered from Macular Degeneration, she was a successful businesswoman with her husband and even continued after his death; owning a plant nursery for many years. There are many trees planted around Anahuac that came from their nursery, including the one in the yard of her former home.
After Mary retired from the nursery business, she became more active in her church and the Order of the Eastern Star. She was a member of First Baptist Anahuac where she served on the Hostess Committee and also cooked many meals for church functions. Mary was known for her yeast rolls and that was the asked for items for funerals and other meals. She cooked dozens and dozens of rolls by feel and all were eaten. Mary also went on many mission trips to Mexico and Cuba. In addition to her church activities, she was an active sixty-nine year member of Order of the Eastern Star and a Past Matron of Anahuac Chapter No. 649. She was also an Endowed Member of Cedar Bayou Chapter No. 11 in Baytown and loved attending meetings and seeing people.
Not only was Mary active in her church and Eastern Star, she was also a world traveler. In addition to mission trips to Mexico and Cuba, she traveled to Jamaica, England, Greece and Turkey. She also made a cross country trip, with her daughter, to take in the sights from Oklahoma, to Colorado and on to South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore then to the East Coast to visit friends. Mary always enjoyed her travels.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband Wilborn; son David Rayner; grandson Scott Rayner; her parents Shirley Austin Beard, Sr. and Etta Crook Beard; siblings Austine Beard Filla, Shirley Austin Beard, Jr., Pierce Beard, and Barbara Beard. She is survived by her daughters Dawn and Melanie Rayner of Baytown; brother David R. Beard of Needville; grandchildren David Rayner (Dawn), Mark Rayner (Olivia), Heather Rayner, Nancy Rayner and Kevin Rayner; several great-grandchildren; nieces Linda Esch (Ron) of Missouri City and Nancy (Robin) of Louisville, Colorado; and several great-nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her very special friend Steven Guyewski, who she considered a son; and other special friends.
Mary’s family wishes to thank the staff of Swan Manor Memory Care Unit and Faith Hospice for the wonderful care their mother received. Their compassion for Mary was greatly appreciated.
Friends are invited to visit with the family beginning at 1pm, on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at First Baptist Church Anahuac, 405 Magnolia Ave S. in Anahuac. A funeral service will begin at 2pm, at the church. A graveside service and committal will immediately follow in Jackson Cemetery in Double Bayou.
Condolences can be shared online with the family by visiting www.SterlingFuneralHome.com