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Obituaries

Mary Estes Speight

SoVaNow.com / August 22, 2017


Mary Estes Speight of Richmond, died on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, six days shy of her 85th birthday. She battled Multiple System Atrophy with steadfast grace, humor and remarkable strength, inspiring her family and friends with awe.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Robert W. Speight Sr.

Born to Webb and Gladys Estes on Aug. 20, 1932. Mary grew up in a family of six children in Chase City. Upon graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., she and Bob were married. The lived in Fort Bliss, Texas and Oklahoma for a short time while he served in the Army and she taught second grade before they settled in Richmond, where they raised their family. Mary was an effective contributor to her community. An avid golfer, she was instrumental in the formative years of Willow Oaks Country Club, where she was an active member well in to her seventies. She was involved with Huguenot Academy and later a tremendous supporter of Trinity Episcopal School, Huguenot 100 Investment Club, a member and volunteer at the Virginia Museum Fine Arts and an active member of the Women of the Church, first of Bon Air Presbyterian and later First Presbyterian Church. She remained a dedicated Meredith alumni, supporting her alma mater throughout her life. For 27 years, Mary served on the board of directors of Estes Express Lines, serving as an active and dedicated member providing guidance and a steady moral compass. As busy as she was serving others, she found time to hone other talents that brought beauty to many, such as impeccable handiwork, exquisite gardening, and the ability to entertain with an unparalleled gracious hospitality. She was a magnificent bridge player, sharing her talents with several bridge groups over many decades. She and Bob loved traveling throughout their marriage, but their favorite place to spend time with friends and family was at their home in Duck, N.C. After Bob passed 10 years ago, Mary enjoyed continuing her travels with her children. Above all else, Mary was the loving and selfless advocate for her children and their families. She traveled near and far to support all of their aspirations, from charitable works to educational milestones and athletic endeavors.

She is survived by her children, Chris Brown (Mace), Elizabeth Cooley (John) and Bobby Speight (Martha); grandchildren, Lisa Brown DeArmas (Pedro), Will Brown, (Katie), Alex Cooley (Lauren), Dan Cooley (Lizzie), Wilton Speight. Griffin Speight and Jess Speight. Great-grandchildren; Christian, Andres, Griffin and Oaks; sister, Ruth Estes Tanner; and many nieces and nephews.

A service was held in the Chapel at Bliley’s 3801 Augusta Avenue, Monday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m., with visitation immediately following.

Mary’s family is forever grateful for and indebted to her exceptional nursing staff, Pam Reaves, Princess Short, Johanna Bailey and Brittany Reaves. Our family could not have made it through the last several years without the guidance and care provided by them. They have become a part of our extended family forever. Mary loved them dearly.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Mary Estes Speight Endowment of Meredith College by calling (919) 760-8411.

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