Mary Taylor Simpson Strong

A Celebration of Life service will be held for Mary Strong on June 20, 2 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, Frankfort. She passed from this life on May 17, 2014.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Richard Clifton Simpson (father to their children), and later by her husband, Arnold Strong, and her nine brothers and sisters. Surviving are two daughters, Sharon Simpson Surbeck (Jim) and Suzanne Simpson Spencer (Fred), four grandchildren, Richard Starnes, Alyssa Spencer Derrington, Julie Surbeck Hatton, and Clay Spencer. Great-grandchildren are Eve Derrington, Emor Hatton and Isaac Spencer.

She was born September 20, 1920, in Harlan County, Ky. She began a teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse close to her home. She earned degrees at the University of Kentucky and taught 7th grade for 21 years in Lexington, Ky. She became Coordinator of Social Studies for all grade levels in Fayette Co., where she “taught teachers to teach.” She held offices in Fayette Co. education organizations. She loved traveling extensively as an educator with study groups to England, Russia, and Japan and used those experiences in her work.

She thoroughly enjoyed her retirement years on her farm in Fayette Co. and in Scott Co. She pursued many hobbies including painting, but closest to her heart was “birding.” She was active in the Fayette Co. Audubon Society. 

She was also active in local politics in Fayette Co. and was a delegate to the 1996 national Democratic convention. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters organization.

She was a longstanding and very active member of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, where she taught Sunday School for many years. In later years she was a member of First United Methodist Church in Frankfort.

She participated in the Alzheimer’s research program at the University of Kentucky. for many years preceding her death and donated her central nervous system for study. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the National Audubon Society, Franklin County Audubon Society or the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Please honor her by taking time to talk with a child, feed birds, put up a birdhouse, or take a nature walk - all things she loved to do.

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