Mary Lee Wilson Lytle, 86, of Old Fort, passed away Thursday, January 26, 2023 at Rose Hill Retirement Community.
She was born on February 15, 1936 to Robert “Bob” Francis Wilson and Sarah Elizabeth “Tiny” Wilson in Salisbury, NC. Mary Lee was the eldest child and the family lived in Spencer/Salisbury until Mary Lee was 11 years old. The family (which had grown by 4 more children by then) moved to Black Mountain, NC in order for her father, Bob, to help with the opening of Old Fort Finishing. The family then moved to Old Fort when she was in the 7th grade.
Mary Lee met Thomas A. “Tommy” Lytle at Old Fort School and they married in 1955. They had 3 children, Eva Elizabeth “Libbie” Norton (Garland), Thomas “Eric” Lytle (Beth), and William “Kent” Lytle (Trish).
Mary Lee was a stay at home mom until Libbie started to school at Old Fort Elementary. She took a job teaching kindergarten at Old Fort Methodist Church at that time. The next job was a Secretary/Nurse at Camp Grier in Old Fort. She became a realtor when the 2 older kids were in high school and later she worked with Head Start and as a teacher’s aide. Then she started a program to earn a teaching degree from Mars Hill College after Kent started high school. Mother immediately started a graduate degree program at Western Carolina and received her Masters in Elementary Education.
She taught at Old Fort Elementary until she retired to take care of Tommy after he had a debilitating stroke.
Mary Lee participated in many church and community activities through the years. She was a member of Old Fort Presbyterian Church and had served as elder and church secretary. She loved to travel and took many wonderful trips with family.
She had resided at Rose Hill Retirement Community since November 2021.
Mary Lee was preceded in death by her parents, Bob and Tiny; husband, Tommy; and brothers, Jerry Wayne Wilson and Robert Francis Wilson, Jr.
Left to cherish her memory along with her children, grandchildren, Brooke Nichole Curtis, Hannah Elizabeth Lytle, and Brooks Carter Lytle; great grandchildren, Victoria Ann McLaughlin, and Olivia Ruth Williams; siblings, James Edward “Eddie” Wilson (Ann), Steven Harris “Steve” Wilson, Linda Anne Wilson (Mike), Nancy Elizabeth “Beth” Wilson, and John Garfield Wilson; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Mary Lee will be remembered by all as a people person and as a wonderful and effective teacher, mother, and Christian.
A graveside service will be held on Monday, January 30, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at McDowell Memorial Park.
A heartfelt thanks goes to the staff of Rose Hill and CarePartners Hospice.
Those who wish to do so may make a donation in her memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at stjude.org.