Mary Lois Barden English Dept.


Mary Lois Barnes Barden was born in Hondo Texas on January 31, 1915 and in her 100th year began her heavenly eternal life on April 9, 2014. She is predeceased by her husband, John Earle Barden, her parents Theodore and Anna Pluck Barnes, and her granddaughter, Brenda Carol Scruggs.
A beautiful and scholarly young woman, graduating as valedictorian from Hondo High School, she attended the University of Texas where she was a Bluebonnet Belle, and met John Earle. They were married on May 11, 1935 and began their 51 years together in the Aldine community, later moving into Garden Oaks in Houston. Returning to school, she earned both a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Houston.
Mary Lois' passion for teaching and devotion to her students was evident during her twenty plus years of teaching English in Houston at Reagan High School, moving to Waltrip High School when it opened and where she remained the rest of her career. A voracious reader, she was a student of literature and writer of poetry well into her nineties.
Her retirement years were filled with travel throughout the U.S. and the world, first with John Earle and after his death with her sister and friends. She was also an avid Elderhosteler. The scrapbooks of her travels are legendary within the family.
Mary Lois and her family were faithful and active members of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church from its founding years. Always the teacher, she taught the Older Youth Sunday School Class and MYF group for over three decades. And with her lovely alto voice she sang in the church choir. She loved her church family and most of her closest friends came from that fellowship.
Above all, Mary Lois loved her family. At family gatherings, her happiest moments were being surrounded by her "descendants"-children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She thrived on hearing about each and every one and was proud of their lives and the paths they had taken.
Mary Lois is survived by her sister, Evelyn Howard of Ft. Worth Texas; her son Jim and wife Bebe Barden of Hondo Texas; her daughters Sue, and husband Joe Dean Phipps of Houston; and Marianne and husband Ed Scruggs of Utopia Texas. She is also survived by nine grandchildren: Gentry, Jack, Lee and Lisa Barden; Joel and Maryanna Phipps and Emily Phipps Harwell; and Edward and Richard Scruggs. She also leaves thirteen great-grandchildren (with a fourteenth expected in May) and a first great-great-grandchild (due to arrive in July).
Mary Lois lived a full and rich life with no expressed regrets. She will be missed.
A private family burial service will occur at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery where she will be laid to rest next to her husband. A Memorial Service is planned for May 10 at 2:00 PM at St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, 4300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX 77018. Memorials may be sent to the Barden Scholarship Fund c/o St. Matthew's United Methodist Church. Visit to leave online tributes.

I just learned of Mrs. Barden's death, and feel so saddened. She was my 12th grade English teacher at Waltrip, and while I don't remember any specific lessons, I remember the good feeling I always had in her class, learning about whatever the topic was! I was doubly blessed, in that after I graduated, I attended Mrs Barden's Older Youth Sunday School Class and Fellowship group whenever I was home from College. It was a very large group (perhaps 55?) of folks who had dispersed to every corner of the state and beyond, and I remember thinking I always knew that the place to "connect" whenever I was home on a weekend or for the summer would be Mrs. Barden's class. She made room for us and for our ideas about our widening worlds. One of the first "theological" debates I ever participated in was at her home one evening where we had gathered. It was one of the lightbulbs that went off in my head that eventually led me into ordained ministry in the UMC. I was always thrilled to see her when she would come to our Waltlrip Reunions (most recently our 45th) and to be able to thank her for her influences on my life! What a wonderful spirit! -- Genie (Hackenjos) Kistler, Waltrip class of '65

Genie Kistler - April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM


Mrs. Barden is one of the few High School teachers that I remember well. She made an impact on my life, not only because she was an excellent English teacher, but also because it was obvious that she loved teaching. I can say that it was a joy and a blessing to have had her for a teacher. She made English fun! We know that she will be greatly missed by many.
Cindy (Woods) Berry, Waltrip class of '67


Cindy Berry - April 20, 2014 at 06:35 PM




She was one of my favorite teachers. Not only was she a good and fair teacher she was sweet and kind. She was my English teacher in the twelfth grade. She attended a graduation tea given for me by my mother's closest friend. I will never forget her and her warm smile.


Diana Moore Linton - April 19, 2014 at 10:29 AM

My most wonderful English teacher! How I loved the way she would challenge us to understand Shakespeare. She always shared her love of books. She was such a regal lady. She loved the students and loved teaching. To the children, grandchildren, and greats - you had a marvelous and loving mother and grandmother. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. We were all blessed to have her in our lives. Nancy Lynn (Bledsoe) Berry, Waltrip High School, Class of '64.


Lynn Berry - April 15, 2014 at 06:34 PM


She was one of the teachers who inspired me to become an English teacher. Often over my 36 years in the classroom, I would think of her and wonder 'what would Mrs. Barden do?" She was an amazing lady. My sympathies to her family on her passing.
Teresa Woodson Harbich
Waltrip High School, Class of '71


Teresa Harbich - April 13, 2014 at 03:11 PM


Little did I know that 1971, the year that I graduated from Waltrip HS, was Ms. Barden's last as she retired that same year. Of all the teachers that I met in all my years of classes, including college and post graduate, she made the largest impression on me and one that I have never forgotten. She was an angel on earth that radiated the same persona when I visited her with my sons several years ago. Please accept my condolences. Michael Arvanetakis Cypress, TX


Michael Arvanetakis - April 13, 2014 at 08:36 AM