Longtime Yazoo City business and civic leader Mary Lou Mashburn died Sunday at age 91 in Sparta, Missouri.
Mashburn was a trailblazer among women in business. She began her career with the Bank of Yazoo City, and other business ventures included the Yazoo City Sears store, Yazoo County Savings and Loan, the Yazoo Credit Bureau, and H&R Block franchise, Bekin Van Lines, owner of the Treasure House of Interior Design, and insurance agency, and her first love, real estate.
Her first step into the world of real estate was in 1957 when William “Billy” Nelson of Nelson Insurance and Real Estate encouraged and promoted her in what was then a male-dominated line of work. She later owned her own agency, Mashburn Real Estate.
When she moved to Missouri after retiring, Mashburn sold the business to her business partner, Ron Wilkinson. In honor and in respect for Mary Lou, Wilkinson renamed the business Mashburn-Wilkinson Realty.
Even after moving to Sparta, Mashburn retained her membership in Yazoo City’s First Baptist Church, where she had been a member since 1947 during the Dr. Webb Brame era. During her years there she sang in the Sanctuary Choir, taught a Sunday school class of teenage girls, directed a missions group for young girls, served on numerous committees and was active in all phases of church life.
Her civic and community life involved serving as a member of the Yazoo County Chamber of Commerce and the Yazoo Art Association. She served as president of the Lintonia Garden Club for two terms. She was also an active member of the Mozart Music Club, serving two terms as president.
Mary Louise Purvis Mashburn was born April 19, 1926 in Shreveport, La. to Tommy and Mary Lea Purvis. Both of her parents died while she was very young, so she was reared in Pelahatchie by loving grandparents.
In 1947 she and her husband, Billy Coleman Mashburn Sr. moved to Yazoo City, where they lived until 2010. With both of them retired and facing health issues, the Mashburns reluctantly moved to Missouri to be near family.
Mr. Mashburn, her beloved husband of 70 years, passed away in 2015 in Missouri. She was also preceded in death by her only son, Billy “Bill” Coleman Mashburn II.
Survivors include her daughter, Gayla Mashburn Gibbons and son-in-law, Bruce Gibbons. She was “Mimi” to six adoring grandchildren and 16 precious great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Thursday, June 1 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Yazoo City with visitation beginning at 12:30 p.m. Burial will follow at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson. Stricklin-King Funeral Home is handling all arrangements.
Serving as pallbearers are her grandsons, Scotty Gibbons, Jason Gibbons, William Gibbons, Grayson Mashburn, Bryan Barton, and son-in-law Bruce Gibbons.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 780, Yazoo City, MS 39194.