Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, January 25, 2007
MARY HARRIETT (HARSH) SHIELDS
It was January 14, 2007, when the music must have started and Mary Harriett (HARSH) SHIELDS was once again able to
dance the hours away with her husband and all the angels in heaven. The joy of no longer being confined to a wheel
chair or a bed must have been more than we on earth can begin to imagine. Rejoice and be glad that Ivan and Mary are
The celebration of Mary’s life began when she became the daughter of Ora E. and Martha L. (POWELL) HARSH. She was born
in Poe Township, Ringgold County, Iowa, on May 22, 1920, and became the baby sister of Ora Ivan and Elmer Glee. With
two older brothers, Mary quickly learned she had to be strong to take care of herself and get through life. When Mary
was 3, her family lived in a tent in the back of a truck and traveled around Kansas where her father worked wheat
harvesting and oil jobs. Mary’s third brother, Homer Vern joined the family in 1923, and it was not long until she
started school in Florence, Kansas. The family of 6 moved back to a farm southeast of Mount Ayr, Iowa. Mary had
become old enough that she wanted a doll to play with instead of always being with her brothers. One morning her
father woke her and showed her a new baby brother named Howard Victor and told her she could help care for him in
place of getting a doll. She was delighted. In later years, however, she did collect many dolls and was a member of
the doll club.
One month and 3 days after her 15th birthday, June 25, 1935, Mary and Ivan Emmett SHIELDS were married in Des Moines,
Iowa. They lived with Ivan’s family until March, 1936, when they moved to their own farm.
December 23, 1941, Ivan and Mary became parents of Marilyn Sue whose nickname is Jackie. Being older than Mary, Ivan
always joked that he had to raise Mary before they could give birth to their daughter.
Mary was a busy farm wife that enjoyed her family and their friends. She learned many ways to cook ground corn and
said she wasn’t a very good cook but they didn’t have very much food to cook. Eventually, she became a wonderful
cook and enjoyed having company join them for meals. Life was good with dances, card games, playing Wahoo, and their
yearly trip to the Iowa State Fair.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her husband in 1988, her 4 brothers, and 2 nephews. She is survived by
her daughter, Marilyn Sue “Jackie” FAY and her son-in-law, Jack FAY, a granddaughter, Toni Michelle (Nesby) CARAWAY,
a great-grandson, Saylor CARAWAY, and 2 step-grandsons, Michael and Cortney CARAWAY all from Topeka, Kansas. Gladys
HARSH of Centerville, Iowa and Vera DEEMER of Mount Ayr, Iowa are Mary’s surviving sisters-in-law along with many
nieces and nephews.
Services were held Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. from Wilson-Watson & Armstrong Funeral Home, Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker