Mary Ella Axton Simmons, 98, of Cypress, entered heaven on July 14, 2021, surrounded by her beloved family.
Graveside services are scheduled for Monday, July 19, 2021 at 1:00pm at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
She was born on February 28, 1923, to Elwood and Maymee (Stevens) Axton in New Harmony, Indiana. Mary Ella was the oldest of three; her sisters, Betty Shurtleff and Norma Purcell, preceded her in death.
In 1943, she married her husband, Floyd Simmons, and they were married until his death in 1993. They had one daughter, Bobbie Jean.
Mary Ella took pride in being a Rosie the Riveter, manufacturing .45 automatic ammunition at the Chrysler plant in Evansville, Indiana for the World War II effort in the early 1940s.
For almost 25 years, the Simmons managed apartments in Odessa, and were active members of the First Church of the Nazarene. Mary Ella served as the church’s missionary president and hosted many pastors and missionaries in her home. She was always ready to serve in any capacity.
Later, the Simmons lived in their Airstream and worked as oilfield gate guards in West Texas. At her husband’s behest, Mary Ella took ground school pilot lessons in the 1980s. She passed the licensing exam, but never actually piloted planes.
The Simmons moved to Houston in 1989 to be closer to their daughter and joined the Spring Branch Church of the Nazarene, and later, the Living Word Nazarene Church.
When she was 67, Mary Ella earned her high school diploma, so that she could work at Truitt Junior High's snack bar – a position she held and loved for 10 years. Following her retirement, she volunteered at the Bear Creek Assistance Ministries Thrift Store and Pantry.
Mary Ella loved to vacation with her family, traveling to the Caribbean; Branson, Missouri; Canada; and the Pacific Northwest. She always was up for an adventure. She even joined her granddaughter as a movie extra in a VH1 film in the late 1990s.
Well known for her joyful disposition and quickness to laugh, Mary Ella often credited her longevity to her optimism and love of vegetables – especially onions. For the past 23 years, Mary Ella lived with her daughter and son-in-law. She delighted in her grandchildren’s visits, watching her great grandchildren grow and spoiling her great grand dogs. She is survived by her daughter, Bobbie Jean McGinnis; son-in-law, Karl McGinnis; grandchildren, Todd McGinnis, a deputy for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and Robin McGinnis, a dentist in Georgetown; and great grandchildren, Brooke and Jackson McGinnis.
Mary Ella loved the Lord and loved people. She was a kind person who lived her faith. She leaves a legacy of love and trust in the Lord.
Arrangements are under the direction of Sunset Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home.