Cover photo for Mary Claire Holzapfel's Obituary
Mary Claire Holzapfel Profile Photo
1938 Mary 2024

Mary Claire Holzapfel

October 25, 1938 — January 20, 2024

Nashville, TN

Born on October 25, 1938,  Mary Claire Rayburn Holzapfel (“NaNa”) of Nashville, Tennessee passed away peacefully on January 20, 2024, surrounded by her beloved family at her beautiful home nestled within the snowy, quiet acres of Stephens Valley. Mary Claire’s life was highlighted by her devotion to her family and Mary, the Mother of God, her involvement in the community and her sense of humor. 

Mary Claire was preceded in death by her parents, Louise Maddux Rayburn and Judge Taylor Rayburn. 

She is survived by her devoted husband of 59 years, Everett “Hosey” Holzapfel, Jr.; her three children, Holly (David) Chase, Julie (Brooks) Loomis, Everett (Beth) Holzapfel; 6 grandchildren: Everett “Trey” (Grace) Gibson, Olivia McClure, Hannah (Conor) Hamill; Everett “Rett” Holzapfel, Graham Holzapfel, Morgan Holzapfel; great-grandchild: Lucy Gibson. 

Throughout her life, she cherished her family, including: brother Taylor (Connie, deceased) Rayburn, Jr., MD; in-laws Merrill (Ray) Hare, Paula (Bob, deceased) Long, Helen (John, deceased) Kohl, Patricia, deceased (Jerry) Strobel, Peter Thomas Holzapfel, deceased, Carole (“Boots”) Donnelly, Theresa (Jack) Hughes, Dorothy (Dick) Sollee, Rita (Pat) Thompson, Morgan (Sally) Holzapfel, Cathy (Joe, deceased) Caldwell, Steve (Sue) Holzapfel, Susie (Terry) Rowland, Barbara (Bill, deceased) Hobbs, John (Lisa) Holzapfel; and more than 70 nieces and nephews and  many cousins. 

Mary Claire grew up in Columbia, Tennessee, a place very near and dear to her heart. As a child, she went to St. Dominic’s Catholic School, where she quickly made many friends due to her spunky personality and gregarious nature. She also enjoyed swimming at the community pool, going to the movies, and reading Nancy Drew mysteries all summer long. She especially loved joining her father on his postal route. She then went to Columbia Central High School, where she was a cheerleader and was voted Most Popular. Along with her father, mother and brother, she was a talented tennis player and won many trophies for her talent at the sport. 

After high school, she attended Peabody College in Nashville, where she excelled in her studies. People were drawn to her magnetic personality and genuine kindness. She was voted Miss Peabody by her classmates. While living in Nashville, she met a recent Vandy graduate and her future husband, Hosey (“Paw Paw”), at a dance at the KC Club. She was smitten with his humor, kindness, good looks and his devotion to the Catholic faith. The two were married at Christ the King Church on May 30, 1964. 

She was proud of her experience as a medical technician and her contribution to the medical field, becoming head of the Maury County Hospital lab. Once her first child was born, Mary Claire dedicated her time to looking after her children. Later, she worked at the City of Belle Meade. 

NaNa had various hobbies as she was a talented bridge player and also a talented bowler. She joined bowling leagues and won several trophies, as she bowled many a perfect game. She loved Bingo, socializing and playing cards with her husband and friends, reading John Grisham novels, and watching Murder She Wrote, always eager to uncover a mystery. She collected antiques, often taking her children and grandchildren to estate sales. 

She was a devoted Catholic, praying the rosary every day and often spoke of her dedication to Mary, the Mother of God. She and her husband were also founding members at St. Matthew parish. 

Growing up, she eagerly anticipated the yearly family trip to sunny Florida after Christmas. She and Hosey took their own family to the beach, often with a large group of friends and family. She attributed her love of desserts and an ice cold Coke to her father. She enjoyed going out to eat and always stating that anything she ever ate was “The best thing she’d ever had.” Her grandchildren have happy memories of NaNa attending Grandparent Days at school, taking them shopping, and getting chocolate-dipped cones at McDonald’s. She was very proud of the fact that she shared a birthday with her granddaughter, Olivia. She was so grateful to meet her first great-granddaughter, Lucy, and cherished every precious moment she had with her. 

She returned to Columbia, her beloved hometown almost every week, often with her children and grandchildren, taking them on many trips to the house she grew up in. She spoke fondly of the history of Columbia, including notable people born in Columbia, and the good-natured, friendly people there. 

 Visitation at St. Henry Catholic Church, 6401 Harding Pk on Friday, January 26, 2024 from 4:00-5:30 PM. 

 The rosary will be recited at 5:30 PM. 

A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 9:00 AM at St. Henry..Livestream can be viewed at (

Special thanks to 

Angelo E Canonico,MD and the St Thomas Medical Group Pulmonary and Critical Care Staff 

Gary McDonald,MD and Staff 

St Thomas Hospital Staff 

Heart and Soul Hospice 

Williamson County EMS 

 In Lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Henry Catholic Church, St Matthew Catholic Church, and St. Cecilia Academy 

 We love you Na Na!

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 26, 2024

4:00 - 5:30 pm (Central time)

St. Henry Church (Nashville)

6401 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205

Rosary 5:30 pm

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Funeral Mass

Saturday, January 27, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Henry Church (Nashville)

6401 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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