Mary Elizabeth Ayers Edens
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Mary Elizabeth Ayers Edens
  • March 12, 1940 - October 17, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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Mary Elizabeth Ayers Edens, 77, today, passed through death's thin veil to enter Heaven and be received in the loving arms of Jesus Christ. She no longer suffers from neurological diseases by which she had been handicapped for decades. She fought a courageous battle for her life, having faced numerous near death experiences over her last years. She never succumbed to despair but lived in the light of hope and salvation.

Mary, born in rural Banks County Georgia, was preceded in death by her parents Era Sterling Ayers and Mamie Sarah White Ayers (Commerce, GA), two infant siblings, and her older brother Gloyd Ayers. She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Frank W. Edens, son Wesley A. Edens (Raleigh, NC), daughter Regina R. Fowler and husband Giles (Leland, NC), son Robert L. Rylee and wife Carla (Jefferson, GA), her brothers Glen Ayers and James Ayers, sister Ann and husband Ron Hillman, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Additionally, she is survived by special friends- "Caroleen", Alexis, Cassandra, Engress, and Pam Peace who had provided excellent care for her for several years. Her family is very appreciative for the help she received from the medical staff at Rex Hospital and her doctor at the UNC Hospital Neurology Department.

She loved interaction with many people, deriving much pleasure when having people visit her at home "getting caught up" about their activities and activities at her church (Trinity Baptist Church). She also loved to travel and had visited nine European countries, three North American countries, and Brazil. Mary was not known for being silent and often spoke her feelings to friends and strangers alike, and as one might expect, she often times could raise a laugh or an eyebrow of a stranger by 'speaking her mind', especially if she was upset by some event. However, she had a smile that would melt your heart causing one to either feel closer to her or forget something she might have said. During the last few torturous years of her life, she would smile and reply to a visitor's universal question, "How are you doing?" with a crisp answer, "I'm doing fine!" She was indeed a 'real trooper' given all the problems from which she suffered.

Mary was unique in many ways. After graduation from Banks County High School, she worked in retail sales, attended the University of Georgia to study history, and worked in the College of Education at the University of Georgia before joining her husband in Raleigh. She was not predictable and chose to go about conducting her daily activities in ways that might have seemed to be odd, but she would accomplish her work and bring it to a successful end. Indeed, she was an independent thinker and wanted to do things by herself in her own way. She once said that "If you tell me to turn right, I will go left; if you tell me to sit I will stand. Ask me to do something for you, and I will do it." However, the last years of her life were marked by Alzheimer's disease, complicated by a five decades long affliction by a severe seizure disorder, and by debilitating osteoporosis. Even in the face of all of her medical problems, she was upbeat and eager to get out of the house for a daily ride in the car, which was the highlight of her final days. Mary also had a great affection for Elvis Presley music and listened to his music on a daily basis. She enjoyed sports (football, basketball and baseball) on television and would report what was happening during a ball game if her co-viewer was out of the room. Mary's love of life, love of all people, and her unconditional love for her family and friends was amazing given the fact that she suffered so much for such a long time. Mary will be sorely missed here, but she now basks in the light of our Lord and Savior- never to suffer again.

Visitation for family and friends will be held from 6 PM to 8 PM on October 20 at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 1701 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh. Funeral services will be held October 21 at 11AM at Trinity Baptist Church, 4815 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, preceded by visitation at 10AM, followed by interment at Pine Forest Cemetery in Wake Forest, NC.