Mary Mae Peterson McDonald
Live, Laugh, Love…..Those three words describe my mother! She lived life to the fullest, she laughed often, and she loved her family and friends beyond measure!
Mary Mae was born, December 3rd, 1935, to James T and Jessie Natalie Peterson in Forth Worth, Texas. She was the second of five children. She spent all of her life in Fort Worth and graduated from Paschal High School in 1954. In 1955, she married the love of her life, Vernon B Winslett. They had three children. Clay in 1956, Lane in 1957 and Lisa in 1959. Vernon unexpectedly died in September of 1963 and Mary Mae was left to raise three small children. She had been teaching dance at various recreation centers in the City of Fort Worth Parks and Rec Department since she was 18 and became a full time employee in 1961. To quote a newspaper article, written in 1986, “she devoted her life to the city recreation department and the many kids who learned ballet, tap, jazz, baton and tumbling from her”. For many of her years, before becoming the center director at Meadowbrook Recreation Center, she handled all of the dance programs for the City of Fort Worth. In 1982, the dream of a new Recreation Center, to serve the East Side of Fort Worth, became a reality. The city attributes the success of Handley Meadowbrook Recreation Center to her hard work. She worked tirelessly with the East Fort Worth Business Association to get the bond approved to build the new rec center. It became the place to go in East Fort Worth. Over 500 people a day would come through the doors of Handley Meadowbrook for the basketball courts, the dance classes, the arts and crafts room and the game room. She was definitely the face of Handley Meadowbrook! She retired from the City of Fort Worth in 1995, credited with 34 years; but, continued to teach tap and exercise through the senior program at Tarrant County College until 2015.
Mary Mae was also very involved in Republican Women of Fort Worth and served on several committees! She loved her country and was passionate about helping in any way. She was a major contributor to Mayfest for many years! Her stage was always a favorite with great entertainment and lots of energy.
Mary Mae was a loving and hard-working mother of three. She did everything that she could to provide a stable and loving home and she was the best mother in the world. She was the best Nannie to her grandchildren and spent countless hours at baseball games, dance recitals or simply picking up from school and taking them to the rec center.
Mary Mae was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon Winslett, her sister Natalie (Sissy) Nix, her brother John Edwin (Butch) Peterson and brother James T (Jimmy) Peterson, Jr. as well as her parents, James T and Jessie Natalie Peterson.
Mary Mae is survived by her son, Clay Winslett (of Columbia, SC), son Lane Winslett (of Corning, CA), daughter Lisa Kensing and husband Tracy (of Arlington, TX), one sister Gayle Beaird and husband EJ (of Crowley, TX) as well as 4 Grandchildren and 7 Great grandchildren, many nieces, and nephews and some of the best friends in the world!
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 4th, 2023 @ 10:30AM at Brown, Owens and Brumley Funeral Home, 425 South Henderson Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76104. A reception will be held immediately following the service with food and drinks. Burial will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery for anyone who would like to attend.