Mary Mabel Youman, 79, of Terre Haute, passed away on Friday, June 30, 2017. She was born Dec. 21, 1937, in Terre Haute, to John Dewey and Sara Caroline Payton Youman.
She is survived by her brother, William Youman and his wife Patricia of Terre Haute; a nephew, John Youman; a niece, Elizabeth White and her husband Sony; and a grandniece, Josephine; as well as several cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Sara Helen; and brother in-law, Gordon Stevenson.
Mary graduated from Wiley High School in 1955. She graduated magna cum laude from Indiana State University Teachers College which later became Indiana State University with a BA in 1958. She received her MA from Indiana State University in 1962. She earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Kentucky in 1976. In 1983 at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary she earned a master's in Divinity and became a Presbyterian minister. She started her professional career teaching at Highland High School. A student asked her during her first year of teaching who she was voting for in the upcoming election, she replied, "I'm too young to vote". Returning to Terre Haute, she taught at Gerstmeyer High School. After completing her Ph.D., she was an English Professor at Kentucky State University. Her second career as a Presbyterian minister took her to churches in Auburn, Ky., East Jordon, Mich., Alpena, Mich., and Decatur, Ill. In retirement she was a guest pastor at many churches. Mary was a woman of courage, dedication and compassion. She was a woman of great substance. With the passage of time and faded pages of history one might be inclined to minimize the accomplishments of those that have gone before us. In the in 1960's, for a woman to start a Ph.D. program in a southern university was frowned upon and discouraged. Mary persevered, she became an early pioneer for women to earn high degrees in the South. Likewise, when Mary decided to enter the ministry, the climate for women to become pastors was unfavorable. She the met the challenge and became a trailblazer for taking down barriers in the church. The hallmark of Mary's life was intellectual growth and caring for family, friends and the less fortunate.
But her life was filled with many other pleasures and activities. Mary was a sports enthusiast. She was a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan and had an undying love for UK basketball. Until her later years, Mary loved to bowl and cross stitch. She was a collector of coins, cane and cups. She enjoyed working a crossword puzzle with a good cup of coffee. She was a student of Civil War, Women's studies and Black history.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, July 5, 2017, at 1 p.m. at Unity Presbyterian Church, 1207 E. Springhill Drive, Terre Haute, with the Rev. Susan McGhee officiating. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the church. The family suggests that in memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor's choice. Envelopes will be available at the church. Greiner Funeral Home, 2005 North 13th Street, Terre Haute, were entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at:
Published on July 1, 2017