Mary Jean Harding
Mary Jean (Smith) Harding was reunited with her late dear husband, Conrad Lloyd Harding, and late daughter, Virginia Yvonne Varnado on Friday, July 16 at her home on the hilltop at Robert’s Branch after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Born in Jacksboro, also on the hilltop at Robert’s Branch, Mary Jean was the proud daughter of Allie and Lester Smith. Mary attended and graduated from Jacksboro High School.
Mary met the love of her life, Conrad Harding, in Wichita Falls, while he was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base. They were married at the First United Methodist Church in Jacksboro on October 2, 1950. Mary Jean and Connie shared 50 years of marriage together before he passed in 2001. During those years they traveled the world. They had stories and keepsakes from every place they lived or traveled. They co-owned a pro football team, called the Buccaneers, where Mary Jean tailored made all the cheerleader’s uniforms. Among her many talents, Mary was a highly accomplished seamstress. Conrad and Mary also owned and operated an upholstery business, Cloth Fabricators Inc., in Biloxi, Miss., where they made boat tops and seat covers. Together they built a life they loved. The one thing they took the most pride in was raising their only daughter, Virginia, and her 3 children. For Mary, every moment was a teaching moment whether it was cooking, sewing, ironing, or manners. Her daughter and grandchildren learned so many things from her. She was the greatest role model on how to love and care for your family.
Mary will forever be remembered for her long stories. She could talk for hours about the history of Jack County and how the Smith family was a big part of it. She was most passionate about the Smith family ancestry and making sure it is not forgotten. Other words to describe Mary are, hard headed, strong willed, talented, and one of the classiest ladies of her time. She will be truly missed by her family and all that knew her.
A viewing was held from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 20 at Coker Funeral Home in Jacksboro.
A graveside service was held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 21 at the family cemetery, Roberts Branch Cemetery in Jacksboro.
Mary Jean is preceded in death by her husband, Conrad Lloyd Harding; daughter, Virginia Varnado; and her parents.
She is survived by grandsons, Shawn and Shane Varnado; granddaughter, Ashley Graham and husband Acy; great grandchildren, Vincent, Bryce, and Seth Petre and Acy Graham Jr.; sisters, Virginia Lee, Marie Farris; nephews, Kevin and Gary Lee; niece, Cathy Lee; cousin, Urelda Barnett along with many cousins and loved ones.