Mary Reid Puckett
Mary Reid Puckett, of Roswell, died July 17, three weeks short of her 100th birthday. Born August 8, 1920 in New York City to William Watkins Reid and Edith Fowler Reid, Mary was the oldest of three children, with twin younger brothers, William Jr. (“Bill”) and David. From an early age, she and her siblings learned to care for others and to appreciate nature.
Mary grew up in Whitestone, NY, attending public schools and graduating from Bayside High in 1937. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1941 and received her Master of Arts degree in psychiatric social work from Simmons College (Boston) in 1943.
While at Oberlin, she met the love of her life, Hugh Wiley Puckett, Jr. They wed in her hometown of Whitestone on June 19, 1943 and remained married until Hugh’s death more than 71 years later. In the early days of their marriage, the couple moved several times due to Hugh’s job, living in Carlsbad; Rangely, CO; Midland, TX; and eventually Roswell.
Until 1967, she was a stay-at-home mother, raising the couple’s six children and instilling in them her love of nature and concern for other people. Together with Hugh and the older children, she worked to build the family cabin in the Sacramento Mountains of NM. This rustic retreat served as a frequent escape from town, base camp for strenuous hikes she took well into her 80s, and a place to view and appreciate wildlife.
When their youngest child started in first grade, Mary followed her passion of social work, going to work for the NM Department of Social Services in Roswell. She was employed there from 1967 until 1983, most of the time working in child protective services and always serving as a fierce advocate for her clients.
Mary was a charter member and an elder in Westminster Presbyterian Church, staying active in the church from 1961 until recent years. After retirement, she did volunteer work at Mission Arch Care Center for almost 20 years. At times she and Hugh combined their love of animals and people by taking shelter animals to visit care center residents.
Mary is survived by her six children: Mike (and Veronica) of Roswell, Peggy (and Randy) Ford of Tucson, Steve (and Mary) of Cullowhee, NC, Katy (and Bill Sitton) of Chicago, Alan of Seattle, and Sue (and John) Teumer of Loveland, CO; ten grandchildren; and 15 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, brothers, and an infant child, Clifford.
Time spent in the company of her family was something Mary cherished, especially in her later years when she was no longer able to go and do for others. Being separated from family and restricted from her daily walking routine due to the coronavirus pandemic took quite a toll on her. She and her family were extremely grateful she was able to have local family by her side in her final few days.
Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, no service will be held. Individuals who wish may leave remembrances on the “Tribute Wall” of the Ballard Funeral Home page for her at: www.ballardfuneralhome.com.