- 85 years old
- Date of birth: Sep 27, 1930
- Date of passing: Aug 27, 2016
Versión en ESPAÑOL aquí.
Mary Evelyn Divers crossed over into the fullness of God’s presence on Saturday, August 27, at the Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community in Raleigh, NC. Born September 27, 1930, at the foot of Mt. Mitchell in Burnsville, NC, Mary Evelyn was the fourth of five siblings. The first in her family to leave her hometown to attend college, she received her college education at Mars Hill and Meredith College, both in North Carolina. She returned to Burnsville where she taught school before pursuing a Master’s degree in Religious Education at the Carver School of Social Work in Louisville, Kentucky. Mary Evelyn then served as the Director of Children’s Education at the First Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, and it was during this time that she met John, whom she married in 1959.
They served in various churches in Virginia until 1965, when they were appointed as missionaries to Argentina by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention -- a life well-suited to Mary Evelyn’s spirit of adventure and service. Two of her children, Jeffrey and Ellen were born before they moved to Argentina, where, at the age of 42, Mary Evelyn gave birth to her youngest, Betsy. A loving mother, she fostered kindness and the love of God, people, music, and education.
Mary Evelyn was active in church where she played the piano (and the pump organ!), sang, and taught. She instructed seminary students in discipleship and children’s education, and was involved in various women’s missionary ministries. She also served the Argentine Mission in many capacities. At times, Mary Evelyn was the official hostess who welcomed and guided new missionary families upon their arrival in Argentina. But she was always an unofficial hostess who entertained and harbored those who were passing through. She could put a chicken casserole in the oven or throw together a peach cobbler at a moment's notice!
After 26 years in Argentina, Mary Evelyn and John retired to Roanoke, VA, where Mary Evelyn embarked on a new career as a bilingual customer service representative with First Union Bank. During that time she helped start the Roanoke chapter of Hope Builders, borne of the Christian Women’s Job Corps, an organization that helps women break out of the cycle of poverty through job skills development and relationship building. Upon retirement she enjoyed the company of her two granddaughters, Alyssa and Lexie, who couldn’t wait to see Abuelita and eat her fluffy waffles!
In 2013, she and John made their final move to Raleigh, NC, to be closer to their daughters. Despite health challenges that left her completely dependent on others, she was known for her beautiful spirit, her smile, her wit, and--if you got lucky, a wink from her bright blue eyes. The world is a better, brighter place because of the almost 86 years that she graced it.
Mary Evelyn was preceded in death by her father, Wesley Bingham Hensley; mother, Atlas Banks Hensley; her sister, Maud K. Higgins; three brothers, Walter Hensley, Edgar B. Hensley and Brooks C. Hensley; granddaughter, Alyssa Grace Divers; and two sisters-in-law, Betty Overby and Virginia Ann Silcox. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, John D. Divers, her son, Jeffrey A. Divers, daughter-in-law, Laura Lynn Litchfield Divers, and granddaughter Alexa Noelle Divers of Palmyra, VA; daughter and son-in-law, Ellen R. Divers and Greg M. Martin of Raleigh, NC, and daughter and son-in-law, Ann Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Divers and Christian G. Gómez of Durham, NC; two sisters-in-law, Wilhelmina A. Hensley and Joyce R. Hensley of Burnsville, NC; a brother-in-law and wife, Donald and Barbara Divers of Roanoke, VA; and many loving nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Mary Evelyn’s life will be held Saturday, September 10, 2016, at Greystone Baptist Church, 7509 Lead Mine Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615. All are invited to share stories and sentiments about Mary Evelyn at 2:00 pm. The memorial service will begin at 3:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Alyssa House, established in memory of Mary Evelyn’s granddaughter to provide affordable housing for the out of town families of children who require long term hospitalization. CHECKS should be filled out to Virginia Organizing with "The Alyssa House" in the memo field and mailed to:
The Alyssa House
P. O. Box 4281
Charlottesville, VA 22905
ONLINE donations can be made at: http://www.virginia-organizing.org
Click Donate! and select "The Alyssa House" under "I want my donation to be designated toward".
"La Primera Iglesia Bautista de la provincia de San Luis; en Argentina. Se une en la despedida en esta vida de nuestra querida hermana Mary Evelyn Divers.
Damos gracias por ser ejemplo en el servicio a Dios, respondiendo fielmente al llamado a la obra misionera.
Nos unimos a los saludos, honrando y recordando sus virtudes como mujer, esposa y madre.
Como iglesia hacemos llegar nuestras condolencias a sus familiares.en este momento difícil y doloroso, pero tenemos esa esperanza eterna que Mary Evelyn descansa en paz en los brazos de nuestro Salvador y Señor Jesucristo.
Con amor fraterno, me despido.
Pastor Cesar E. Garcia.
Primera Iglesia Bautista.
San Luis - Argentina."
"Mary Evelyn could have won a Miss America contest and definitely the Miss Hospitality award of such contest. We benefited often of her care and friendship for a cuppa, meal and even over night stays on our journeys to Bs. As. on business. She was always ready to care and share. We appreciated her love and friendship for us and to hear of it for her Argentine church. Prayers for you John, Jeff, Ellen and Betsy. "A a golden heart has stopped. Hard working (caring) hands at rest." Borrowed. God bless you all."
"Mary Evenly could have easily on Miss America and definitely the miss hospitality award. She was such a loving, caring, pretty person. We remember many drop in meals, even staying in her and John's home who in Bs.As on business. Always a good friend and loved their argentine church family so much. Borrowed: "a golden heart stopped beating. Hard working (caring) hands at rest". John and Linda and kids."
"Mary Evelyn was like a second mom to me in Argentina. Thanks for everything and I sure love and miss you. Emily Stancil"
"Mary Evelyn was the best next-door neighbor there ever could be. The many early morning walks we spent in the streets of our neighborhood, Floresta, Buenos Aires, were always special times for me. We shared our thoughts and our delights and troubles and walked off a few extra calories. She always expressed such love for her family that it was an inspiration to me. I am grateful to the Lord to have known her and I look forward to a blessed heavenly reunion."
"I first met Mary Evelyn in 1991, when First Baptist Roanoke, VA, went on a mission trip to put a roof on Villa Centenario church. One of the first things I was asked to do was give my testimony at the first worship service after we arrived. I was unsure about doing that and Mary Evelyn, said that she had read my testimony and the church needed to hear it. Then she said, Gerri, a testimony is important because it is your story and cannot be argued as the Bible can be. After that service 3 women came up to me with tears in their eyes and pointed to me, themselves and up to God. Hugs flowed freely. The next year Paul and I went back on our honeymoon to visit and paint the outside of the Sidney Sowell School kindergarten classrooms. To say Mary Evelyn was the hostess with the “mostess” is an understatement. The first night we were there she gave us a wedding reception compared to none. She got the church women to prepare the food. A 4 tier wedding cake, and music provided by Pablo and Hernom, Nellie Parofiorite’s sons. Gifts, cards and well wishes that went long into the night. We were delighted that they retired to Roanoke. Mary Evelyn, had a vision of helping those less fortunate than she. Christian Women’s Job Core and the Hope Builders Chapter with WMU of the Roanoke Valley Baptist Assoc. was where she found her place of service. Not only did she provide the leadership to establish the program that continues to this day, but she was a mentor and practiced what she preached. One of her mentees was Rebecca Meckstrouth. When she first met her she was living in her car in Roanoke with her dog. With Mary Evelyn’s support, encouragement and many prayers, Rebecca, found a place to live, attended Hope Builders, got a job and moved on to become a substitute teacher in Roanoke City Schools. She completed college years before she fell on hard times. She became a leader in a Sunday School class. Later after her two sons moved to Oregon, Mary Evelyn and I took her to the train station where she moved to Oregon. Frequent reports back from Rebecca is that she continues to do well. For several years Mary Evelyn and I met at the track at the school near where they lived. We walked and talked about the ministries we were involved in. Also, we would meet frequently at McDonald’s and have Egg McMuffin and coffee while we again talked and talked. Every time I eat an Egg McMuffin I’m reminded of her and those times. Paul and I treasure our times with John and Mary Evelyn and our lives are better for it."
"Mary Evelyn was one of the most gracious individuals I have known and an ideal partner with John on the mission field. She loved her family and the children at the school in Buenos Aires. She was particularly proud of her children. Our thoughts and prayers for John and her family."
"She encouraged us as new missionaries in Argentina and, together with John, participated in our daughter, Ruby's, baby dedication in 1991. She is a special lady."
"A dear friend and partner in the WMU of Virginia Mary and Elizabeth Project.who inspired me beyond measure. My prayers for John and the family."
"A wonderful friend, co-worker, and next door neighbor. Be assured of our prayers for your family as you travel this rough road. We rest in the assurance that she is in a place of joy and celebration."
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