The Journal Express
---- — Mary Dorathea Willson Noftsger was born on Oct. 14, 1914, in Blue Hill, Neb., the daughter of Dora and George Willson. She attended kindergarten through high school in Blue Hill, where she enjoyed sports and being in the high school pep club.
Mary was baptized and confirmed in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Hill. She sang in the choir at the St. Paul Lutheran Church and also in First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, Neb. She graduated from Hastings Presbyterian College in Hastings, where she received her letter, sweater and blanket in college sports. Other colleges Mary attended were Drake University in Des Moines, Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, N. C., and East Carolina College in Greenville, N. C.
Mary taught in the public schools for 30 years. She taught in Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina. For three years, she had Miss Mary’s Kindergarten in the Spilmen Baptist Church before North Carolina had kindergarten in the public schools. Max and Mary were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings. Max had returned from the United States Air Force where he was a pilot and captain of the Flying Tigers.
As a child, a tornado took their farm house and outbuildings. She and her family were safe inside a cement cave when the tornado hit. Her life was also spared when her house caught on fire due to a tree that fell on the power line going into their home. She also lived through the 1930 dust storms, the Great Depression, and World War II.
Max and Mary loved to travel. They took a riverboat cruise from Amsterdam to Vienna, a paddlewheel boat down the Mississippi, along with a Caribbean cruise. They enjoyed visiting countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, South and Central America and all 50 states in the U.S. Max and Mary attended many Flying Tiger conventions and also Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Max and Mary loved to fish from their yacht in the Atlantic Ocean and enjoyed spending time at their condo in Atlantic Beach. Mary was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Denver, Colorado and attended the First Presbyterian Church of Kinston, North Carolina, Chi Omega Psi sorority, University Women’s Club, City Women’s Club, the U.S. Power Squadron Boating Club and a member of the retired school personnel. She enjoyed music (composed and wrote lyrics to the Southwood School Song and the Power Squadron Boating Song), oil painting, needle crafts, gardening, writing short stories and poetry, sports, boating and fishing both in ponds and the ocean.
Mary is preceded in death by her parents, George and Dora Willson; her husband, Max Noftsger; three sisters, Pauline Elliott, Eunice Weingart, and Elizabeth Cieloha; and a nephew, David Weingart.
She is survived by a half-sister, Marjorie Lockhart of Bladen, Neb.; sister-in-law, Virginia Patterson of Whittier, Calif.; three nieces, Kathryn (Gary) Kile of Hastings, Neb., Meri (Joe) Boosel of Noblesville, Ind., and Sue Elliott of Olympia, Wash.; nephew, Philip (Barbara) Weingart of Santa Ana, Calif.; eleven great nieces and nephews; and 24 great-great nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Kinston, N. C., with Pastor Wanda Neely officiating. A graveside service was held on Tuesday, April 15, at the Columbia Cemetery with Pastor Brent Hanna officiating. For those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Kinston, N. C. Williams Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.