Mildred Maurine Walker McPherson was born May 4, 1924 into a farming family in Cass County, Texas. She was the 6th of 7 children born to William Henry Walker and Jimmy Drusilla McWilliams Walker. With what became a lifelong love of learning, she had, by age 12, read all the books in their little county library. Around this time, she went to live with her older sister and brother in law, Thelma and Frank Keasler. She and Thelma were more than sisters, sharing a devotion to each other that never flagged. After high school graduation in Jacksonville, TX, she attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a BBA. She stayed on in Austin and became the first woman to be employed as a claims examiner for the agency known at the time as the Unemployment Commission (now Texas Workforce Commission.) She eventually returned home to Jacksonville, where, with a friend she opened a dress shop, combining her love of business with her love of fashion. At age 26 she met the new associate pastor at the Methodist Church, Walter McPherson. Their love story was a fast developing one; first date on New Year's Eve, married on May 4th. She then entered a period of building a family, moving every few years as the Methodist Church re-assigned them, and becoming adept at making each new parsonage a welcoming and lovely home, as well as making lifelong friends. She often said that she would have been a person comfortable to live "in a rut," and that the life she had, with frequent moves with lots of challenges, turned out to be a wonderful life for her. She particularly enjoyed her engagement with United Methodist Women and participated eagerly in mission, outreach, and study.
She returned to the workforce, becoming a licensed real estate broker, and worked until she and Walter retired. In retirement, they relished the opportunity to have quiet time together after such busy lives. When she mentioned wanting a few rose bushes, Walter bought hundreds, and created an amazing rose garden for her. Together they relished home, family (which now included grandchildren) community, and faith. After Walter's unexpected death in 1994, she bravely put together a new life for herself. She traveled twice to Europe, and engaged in a wide range of community activities, both charitable and social. Always, family was at the center. Her death came at age 93, after many good years and a few tough weeks. She is survived by 3 children - Lynn Cearley of Dallas, Tom McPherson of Austin, and Logan Riekenberg and husband Roger of Paola Kansas. Her 6 grandchildren are Melissa Christiansen, Eric Miller, Charlotte Miller, Jessica Lane, Hope Cooke, and Sam Riekenberg. She is also survived by 5 great grandchildren: Charlotte, Olivia, Albert & Walter Christiansen; and Hazel Lane.
Services will take place Friday, January 19 at 2:00 PM at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, TX. The family will receive visitors in the church commons immediately following the service.
Mildred's wish was that memorial gifts be directed to United Methodist Women. (www.unitedmethodistwomen.org)
When we remember our mother, we will think of her business acumen, her intelligence, her whimsical ways ("No one will be served breakfast who is not wearing a wildflower tucked behind the left ear,"), her natural elegance and charming manner, but most of all, her essential kindness and her love of family and friends.
She had the courage to be the last surviving sibling in her family and to have lived without our dad for over 20 years. We will endeavor to do justice to that courage as we move into our new lives without her.
Published on January 17, 2018