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Mary Frances Ponder

December 13, 1947 November 28, 2020
Mary  Frances  Ponder
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Obituary for Mary Frances Ponder
Mary Frances Ponder, 72, died November 28, 2020 at home in Jackson. A Requiem Eucharist will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 4, 2020 with interment following at a later date. Due to pandemic protocols, the service will be private.

Mary Frances was born on December 13, 1947 in Jackson, the daughter of the late William and Hylah McCulley. A graduate of Provine High School, she continued her education at Hinds Junior College in Raymond, later earning her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Mary Frances retired from the State of Mississippi where she worked as a Disability Examiner in the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (Disability Determination), having previously worked for Mississippi ETV, Zurich Insurance and Mississippi Federated Cooperative. She viewed her work at MDRS/DDS as a vocation, a calling through which she could be an advocate and servant to those with medical needs. Even in retirement, Mary Frances offered aid and assistance to those applying for determined benefits.

Baptized, raised, and married at First Christian Church in Jackson, she was a longtime communicant of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. Mary Frances was a past member of the parish vestry and choir and was a long-serving member of both the Pastoral Care teams and the Altar Guild. Though perpetually a novice knitter, Mary Frances initiated the Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Philip’s. In the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, she participated actively in the Cursillo, Happening and Vocare renewal communities, as well as serving as a delegate to diocesan Council. She was a lay Licensed Eucharistic Minister, Worship Leader and Visitor and was a graduate of the Education for Ministry program of The School of Theology of The University of the South (Sewanee, TN.)

A companion of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, Mary Frances thrived under a rule of intercessory prayer, thanksgiving and simplicity of life, seeking to live a life of obedience to Christ in the company of others while seeking spiritual growth and action in the world. She was a companion of the SCHC’s Mississippi chapter and now joins the Society’s Paradise chapter.

An avid bibliophile, Mary Frances read for both personal development and pleasure, often working her way through three to four titles at any given time. Her handiwork at cross-stitch was magnificent. Mary Frances had a thirst for knowledge and inquiry. She loved to laugh, to cook, and she enjoyed the company of friends and strangers alike. Mary Frances delighted in her son and was a woman of generosity, compassion, strong-will, fierce love and deep faith. When faced with adversity or obstacle, particularly pertaining to her health in recent years, she was a determined fighter, while maintaining a life of grace and gratitude.
Mary Frances is survived by her son, The Reverend Canon James Brian Ponder of Jackson; Jim Ponder of Quinlan, TX, her son’s father; aunts, Geraldene Runnels of Houston, TX and Amy Jo Runnels of Santa Monica, CA; her former sisters- and brother-in-law and their spouses; family member Mark Smith; a number of nieces, nephews and cousins; as well as a host of friends. She was predeceased by her parents and stepfather, J. Ishee of Jackson.

Mary Frances’s family and friends wish to thank the many medical professionals who helped her extend both the quantity and quality of her life, especially: Drs. Marc Mitchell, John Winscott, Giorgio Aru, and Kathy Gregg, as well as nurse practitioner, Bonnie Carminati. Gratitude is also offered to the professionals of Fresenius Kidney Care of Jackson.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Jackson; the Mississippi Kidney Foundation; the Diabetes Foundation of MS; the American Heart Association; Talking Book Services of the MS Library Commission; Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield, MA; or a charity of one’s choice.
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Previous Events

Funeral Eucharist




10:30 AM 12/4/2020 10:30:00 AM
St. Philip's Episcopal Church

5400 Old Canton Rd.
Jackson, MS 39211

St. Philip's Episcopal Church
5400 Old Canton Rd. Jackson 39211 MS
United States

Memorial Contribution

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

5400 Old Canton Rd.
Jackson, MS 39211

American Heart Association

4830 Mc Willie Circle
Jackson, MS 39206

Mississippi Library Commission, Talking Book Services

Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center

Charity Of Choice


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