Mary Elias

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 14, 1930

Departed on April 16, 2020 and resided in Nashville, Tennessee

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Mary Elias, known as “Mother Mary” and “Mommiee”, 89, of Nashville, passed away peacefully on April 16, 2020, with her daughters and granddaughter by her side. She is preceded in death by her husband, John Elias; parents Joseph and Mina Madoo; brother, George Madoo; sister, Jenny Sargis; and grandsons Johnathon Maldonado, Justin Webb and Brock Forsgren.

Born December 14, 1930, as Shameria (or Shameira), her name proved difficult for others to spell, so her father solved the dilemma by calling her “Mary.”

Mary loved recalling stories of happy childhood vacations to Washington, D.C., where she and her siblings climbed the Washington Monument’s 900 steps, writing their names on each one. Her favorite time to visit was during the Cherry Blossom Festival and, on one occasion, she and her family were privileged to meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mary’s family took her to the New York World’s Fair when she was nine, where she saw her first television.

In her high school yearbook, Mary was described as “Dark tresses, silence is golden and a good friend to have.”

In 1954, Mary married the love of her life, John David Elias, who went on to become a master watchmaker for Bulova. His work took them to California and Florida, with Mary raising three daughters and running the household. The Eliases retired to Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to Mary’s passing, she resided at Clarendale Bellevue Place, and looked forward to delicious meals and many activities.

Mary had a joyous sense of humor, was a wonderful cook and loved cats. She possessed superior math skills and was a Rummy Tiles champion. Her family says her personality matched that of Sophia (Estelle Getty) on “The Golden Girls,” which happened to be Mary’s favorite TV show.

Traditional hymns and travel were among Mary’s many loves. She frequently accompanied daughter Nancy and son-in-law Ron on cruises and to the beach and was a beloved guest at gatherings at their home. A breast cancer survivor, Mary created over 100 needlepoint tissue-box covers and donated them to the Nashville Breast Center.
Mary is survived by daughters Elizabeth Oliver (David), Linda Webb and Nancy Elias-Oates (Ron), and by a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Graveside services will be held at a later date with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Mary will be reunited with her husband John, who served in the US Navy during World War II.

In Lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Nashville Breast Center, Mary Elias Survivor Support Fund, 2004 Hays Street #310, Nashville TN 37203.
100% of proceeds donated are used to help to offset non-covered expenses for patients in active treatment, as well as other medical needs.

Donations may also be made to Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson Street, Nashville TN 37203.

For either cause, please note the donation is in memory of Mary Elias, along with your name and address for proper notification.

32 Comments to Mary Elias

  1. David Oliver
    May 6, 2020 3:30 pm

    Mom, I miss you like no other. I know you are happiest now so I will not long grieve for you, but rather be happy for your joy. I love you and miss you greatly.

  2. anne perry
    May 6, 2020 3:55 pm

    what a great video memory!! sending condolences to the family.. so many memories created and preserved for friends and family.. she touched so many!!

    • Nancy Elias-oates
      May 6, 2020 6:14 pm

      I love you, Annie. You’ve been there to always lift my spirits. We had perfect mother’s because not only did they share the same first name, they raised great daughters.

  3. Michael Sargis
    May 6, 2020 4:33 pm

    Aunt Mary. may you always rest in peace with the comfort of mom. You had a great sense of humor and always knew when to say the right thing. ill never forget the time Camryn was afraid of you. you were sitting with mom and she kept calling you the other nana lady.

    So precious is the time.

    • Nancy Elias-Oates
      May 6, 2020 6:23 pm

      She loved you so Michael. We promised our parents….and you and I pinky swore. Love you cousin!

  4. Elizabeth Oliver (Betty Ann)
    May 6, 2020 4:54 pm

    Love and miss you terribly Mommiee (Yimmie).. The only consolation right now is you reunited with those you love & have missed. You were a wonderful Mom & so was Dad. I will remember what you taught me & promise to watch over Linda & Nancy.. Yes ma’am I’ll be good! Ha.. Rest easy My Dear Mother. Until we reunited in Heaven together.. Love, Betty Ann

  5. Kristen Forsgren
    May 6, 2020 5:09 pm


    I am so blessed to have had you as my nana. I will always remember the love I shared with you and Grandfather. You are definitely one in million, and I am so blessed that my children got to love you, and to be loved by you. I know that you will hold my son Brock in your arms until it is my time, take care of our baby.

    I picture you making all the yummy foods that our family loved so much for our family in heaven. I picture you in your heavenly home that Jesus made just for you, Grandfather, and our loved ones. I picture you cooking away, and dancing away with Grandfather as you wait for the feast you are preparing to be ready to serve to Jesus, and our loving family at a huge Heavenly celebration!

    Nana, I miss you and love you so much. Baine says he loves you too. I will make sure that my boys know all about our family, and I will carry on the traditions of our delectable dishes! I will miss you tickling my arms, and my back, Aunt Nancy will carry on that tradition for you;) I will miss your feisty personality, Aka (Sophia off the Golden Girls)! I love you my sweet beautiful nana.

    Love always and forever,

    Shane, Kristen, Brock👼, Baine, and Beaux

  6. Chiquita Meeks
    May 6, 2020 5:43 pm

    You will be sorely missed Nana

  7. Heather McIntosh
    May 6, 2020 5:59 pm

    I met Mary on the front porch of Linda Webbs house. She and I enjoyed spending time together, watching tv and chatting about everything. I will remember her soft and sometimes stubborn voice, but mostly her beauiful smile. It lit up her whole face. She us in Heaven with a healthy body, waiting to greet her famiy.

  8. Steven Maldonado
    May 6, 2020 6:00 pm

    My sweet nana I love you so much and I know you’re no.longer hurting rest easy my beautiful sweet irreplaceable great grandmother you lived a long and flourishing life you will be truly missed

  9. Lisa Keithley
    May 6, 2020 7:44 pm

    Linda and Betty I will pray for peace for you and your extended family

    • Elizabeth Oliver (Betty
      May 6, 2020 10:01 pm

      Thank you Lisa for your kind words.. We covet all your prayers.. So thankful for Our Eternity! God Bless Always.. Love, Betty

  10. Joan Young
    May 6, 2020 8:09 pm

    My dear friend , Thank you for all the memories and fun that we shared as friends and all the wonderful times we shared as families . I wish time and distance did not prevent us to share in more of those memories . I draw comfort in knowing you are with John and I pray that God brings peace and comfort to your entire family. Love to them all .
    Until I see you again ,
    Joanie and family

    • Elizabeth Oliver (Betty Ann)
      May 6, 2020 10:34 pm

      I love you Dearly Ms Young.. Some of my best Family memories are with you, Mr Young, Sandy, Tammy, Barbie & Amy. Weekend BBQ’s, best ribs & chicken in Pompano made by Dad & Mr. Young, walks to 7-11 to get Coke Icee’s after school, Friday nights occasionally Burger Chef, going to visit Shorty, crabbing in the Lake down in Hollywood, Ha!!

      Most of all if it was trash “We’d Roof It”!! I guess with all that said I was so blessed to have these great memories.. Mom was really missing her Family & of course Dad. Even though she had us there was a big hole empty in her heart.
      She was so blessed to have you as a Friend and missed you. We spoke about the good days together about you & the Girls, in fact we had talked about you recently & she was going to call you, but her illness got to the best of her. Know that She loved You dearly just as I do.. God Bless Ms Young, let’s stay in touch…

  11. Linda Price Pearson
    May 6, 2020 8:37 pm

    Nancy and family,
    What a beautiful tribute to a precious lady, whom I loved very much. I will never forget the time we all came to your mom and dad’s house and ate together. I have missed him and his quick wit and precious personality all these years. I will never forget either one of them and will cherish their memory forever. “Mother Mary”, I love you! Thank you for the precious memories and always making me laugh with your funny personality! RIP sweet Angel… and tell John I said “Hi!”

  12. Jade
    May 6, 2020 8:42 pm

    Hope you’re having a blast Mary! So much to do, so many friends and relatives to catch up with and laugh with. Look up my mom and tell her hi. Y’all can get into politics!

    Transitioning is cause to celebrate and I know your days are filled with joy and love. In the blink of an eye we will catch up with you and we can all party on!

  13. CeCe Reigle
    May 6, 2020 8:56 pm

    Dear Ron and Nancy;

    Such Wonderful photos! This video is a true keepsake! I remember Mary as so much fun–and what a great lady she was to have raised such a kind, smart and beautiful daughter! You were blessed, and I am so truly sorry for your loss…

  14. Mina McNair
    May 6, 2020 10:19 pm

    I know you were ready to go and are feeling like a million bucks with grandpa, aunt Honey, and the boys(Justin, Jonathan, and the Brockster), but my selfish self needed more time. Thank you for being the BEST, funny, crazy, take no crap Nana. I will cherish all of our memories together. You were truly one of a kind and you were my Nana. I love you with all my heart and soul. Give my grandpa a HUGE hug and kiss for me! May your soul rest in paradise my beautiful Angel. I can’t wait to see you in my dreams! Til then…

  15. Mary Civille Thomas
    May 6, 2020 11:14 pm

    Mrs. E. You will live in my ❤️ forever. You always told it like it was. I’ve sure missed interacting with you on Facebook over the past 2 years. I loved how you always made me feel young again. I feel very fortunate to have been “your favorite” of Linda’s friends… that made me feel so special and loved. I will surely miss you. Now go, and Rest In Peace. We will all cherish the memories. Love you… Mary.

  16. Rhoda Hooper
    May 6, 2020 11:36 pm

    Such a sweet lady, we met her at Dr Whitworth’s office. I have one of her tissue boxes. Rest in peace Mary. Condolences to her family.

    • Nancy Elias-Oates
      May 7, 2020 3:20 pm

      She enjoyed making those boxes for Dr. Whitworth’s patients. Knowing you have one of her boxes warms my heart, and I know she’s smiling down. Wishing you best health and thank you for sharing your kind comment about mom.

  17. F.A. Anderson
    May 7, 2020 1:21 am

    Linda and family, My condolences to you and your family. Mrs. E. graced the people she knew and loved, with her wit and charm. Remembering your dear Mother fondly from our days in Broward County. With love and sympathy, Fran and Bill Anderson

  18. Teena
    May 7, 2020 7:48 am

    You are so missed Mom…. I know you are happy now in heaven being with your love ones….

  19. Janette Buchanan
    May 7, 2020 12:31 pm

    What a great tribute. I always enjoyed spending time with Mother Mary. She will be missed by all that knew her. Sending my prayers for comfort for the family.

  20. Lauren Justice
    May 7, 2020 3:25 pm

    Nancy and Ron,

    I am so sorry for your loss and thankful I got to know Mother Mary through you over the past 18 years. She was such a sweet soul and so fun to be around. I will always cherish our catfish dinners at the house! This was a beautiful tribute!

    May she rest peacefully and her life forever cherished.

    All my love,

  21. Byron Metcalf
    May 7, 2020 6:05 pm

    What a beautiful and loving tribute! May you be held and comforted by the by your mother’s love always.

    With Love and support,

    Byron and Karen

  22. Nancy Elias-Oates
    May 7, 2020 9:03 pm

    To all of my dear friends, family and friends of my mother… Thank you so very much for the wonderful outpouring of love and support and sharing your cherished memories about mom. As much as I would like to respond to each of you at this time, it’s just too difficult, emotionally; as she was the best mom, Nana, and Great Nana (Brock’s name for her) ever! We appreciate everyone enjoying her life through the photos and music. I will reply to all of you individually when I can get everything together.

    All my love,

  23. Tammy Dotson
    May 7, 2020 11:28 pm

    Linda…I’m very sorry to hear you lost your mom. It sounds like she is leaving a wonderful legacy for you and your family. You were very blessed to have had her for so long although it probably feels like it wasn’t long enough. I’m truly sorry for your loss. Thinking of you. Much love.
    Tammy Dotson

  24. Lillie Buchanan
    May 13, 2020 11:23 pm

    Dear Mary you will be sorely missed by both, Kathy and myself. I will remember our times when we would sit by the elevator when it was time for spraying at Villa Maria manner. We were so sad when we found out you were moving. You’re a great neighbor and a fun lady to talk to. Every time we saw you there was a smile on your face and I always remember your words “What are you gonna do“ when someone would complain about something. We will talk about the times we’ve had growing up and how much those times meant to us now. Thank you so much for the beautiful picture you gave to Kathy and I. We will forever cherish it along with your memories. Love in heaven with those friends and family that have gone before you. I know that they will enjoy your being there. I also know that those left behind will miss you terribly. Rest in peace Mary. Your friend Kathy and Lillie.🦋😇💗

  25. Nancy Elias-Oates
    June 23, 2020 7:29 pm

    I miss you so much, Mom. Words cannot explain how hollow I feel. I promise to take care of myself and carry forward. Until I see you again, please keep your spirit closely to my heart. Love Nancy.

  26. Elizabeth Oliver
    December 13, 2020 5:39 pm

    Well your Birthday is tomorrow. And so I will wish Your 1st Heavenly Birthday, but I want you with Me.. I guess in heaven You get to eat the whole cake and not gain an ounce! So eat Cake!! Is it Angel Food cake??
    Tell Daddy Hi for me. Our lives feel so empty without the both of You. Thankful though that You’re both together and for the wonderful memories You left us with .. Dad, don’t forget a gift for Mom! You always remembered when we reminded you!!! Ha!! But when you did remember gifts were always the top. Mom, you use to tell us “as long as they’re good to you all year long, the gifts don’t matter. It’s better to get nothing and they come home every night than them being rotten and bringing you home things just to make themselves feel good”.. Wise words always Yimmie.. Hope your 90th Birthday will be epic.. Love and Miss you Mommie…Happy Birthday Love, Betty

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