Mary Gravlee Hawkins Putnam

by Lynn McMillen
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Mary Gravlee Hawkins Putnam (Mame) departed this life to be in her heavenly home on November 20, 2023, at 99 years young. Born November 3, 1924, in Nettleton, Mississippi, Mame moved with her parents, Guy Justice Gravlee and Eva Bryan Gravlee, to Tupelo, MS to continue the family lumber business. Following the great depression and as World War 2 ensued, Mame was an outgoing and well-liked student at Tupelo High School where she was a member of the THS tennis team. After high school she attended the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Chi Omega sorority. As with many of the greatest generation, Mame saw many of her close friends depart for the war, never to return. Mame met and married G.L. (Buddy) Hawkins of Oxford, MS upon his return from the war and they set up their home in Tupelo, raising 2 children … Sharon and Bryan Hawkins. Years later Mame married the late George W. Putnam, whom she met while working for B. Blumenthal of Carlstad, N.J. After retirement they moved back to Tupelo into the home Mame had built in her old neighborhood, Sharon Hills.

Full of spirit and hardened by the experience of enduring the Great Depression, 2 Tupelo tornados, and 3 wars on a global scale, Mame was an energetic part of her community, her church, and most importantly, her family. Her outgoing personality, magnetic smile, and selflessness formed the basis for her many successes in life. Quick to speak her version of the truth, Mame could always be counted on to state her opinion, while endearing her family with a reliable source of wisdom.

Mame was a faithful and active member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) until its demise during the recent 2nd Tupelo tornado. She was past President of Tupelo Junior Auxiliary, President of the Mississippi Women’s Golf Association, and an exceptional golfer placing 3rd in the Mississippi state amateur golf championship. She was a loyal Ole Miss Rebel fan and carried her family often to the grove where “tailgating” was born.

Having learned from her mother’s (Eva Bryan Gravlee) example, Mame lived her life for her children and their extended families, steadfastly served her community and church, and endured in quiet devotion to her Savior. She was revered in life as a stalwart example of how love, laughter, adventure, perseverance, spirituality, honor, selflessness, and wisdom contribute to the fabric of a Godly soul. She was a sassy and classy “proper” lady.

A service celebrating her long, fruitful life will be held at 2 PM Sunday, November 26, 2023, in the Sadie M. Holland Memorial Chapel at Holland Funeral Directors – Tupelo Chapel with private family-only burial in Tupelo Memorial Park on Joyner St. Visitation will begin at Noon on Sunday and continue until service time. For those unable to attend, the service may be viewed at at 2 PM Sunday and will be archived thereafter.

Mame was predeceased by her parents, Guy J and Eva B Gravlee, husbands G.L. (Buddy) Hawkins and George W. Putnam, one brother, Guy J Gravlee, Jr; two sisters, Ann G. Gussler and Sarah Riley Gravlee; and one son-in-law, James Cooper Long.

She is survived by her two children, Sharon Long and Bryan Hawkins (Brenda); Grandchildren – Melissa Chambers (Alex), Susan Pierce (Gene), Jim Hawkins, Alan Hawkins (Emmalee), Marc Hawkins (Jesse); Great grandchildren – Jack Chambers (Caroline), Charlie Chambers, Maggie Chambers, Mary Morgan Burks (Taylor), Anna Kirk Dodds (Wesley), Conrad Hawkins, Decker Hawkins; Great-great grandchildren – Gravlee Burks, Lucy Burks,

Honorary Pallbearers are all the grand, great, and great-great grandchildren. Special love is extended to her close caregivers, Ruby Ruff and Linda Nowles, all the staff at Comfort Keepers, and all her friends at Landmark Lifestyles Assisted Living.

Memorials donations are requested to be sent to The Tupelo Ballet, 2224 W Jackson St., Tupelo, MS 38801 and/or Sanctuary Hospice House, P.O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 38803.

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