Mary Frances Fickett
Mary Frances Fickett
  • August 15, 1918 - November 10, 2017
  • Texas

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On Friday, November 10, 2017, Mrs. Mary Frances Fickett, a native of Nacogdoches, passed away peacefully in Houston, Texas, at 99 years of age.

She was the wife of the renowned Baptist minister, Dr. Harold L. Fickett, Jr. Together, they built thriving congregations in Brownsville, Texas, Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Pomona, California, and Boston, Massachusetts, before assuming the pastorate at The First Baptist Church in Van Nuys, California. At one time, Van Nuys Baptist was the largest congregation west of Texas, with 12,000 members.

Dr. Fickett later became President of Barrington, College in Barrington, Rhode, Island, before returning (with a good deal of urging by his wife) to the Los Angeles area, where he held another pastorate at Rocky Peak before retiring.

Through speaking engagements, Dr. & Mrs. Fickett's witness to the Gospel spread to the Far East, particularly South Korea and the Philippines, and behind the Iron Curtain in the former Soviet Union. Their churches placed a particular emphasis on supporting missionaries all over the world.

While raising a family of three strong-minded children, Mary, Ruth, and Harold III, Mrs. Fickett remained "always ready to go" wherever the Lord called.

The marriage of Dr. and Mrs. Fickett possessed a rare unity of mind and spirit that flowed from their deep love for one another.

Mrs. Fickett did not seek attention for herself but embraced her role as her husband's helpmeet unconditionally. Her steadfast will helped carry her sometimes-mercurial husband through the many challenges Christian ministry presents. Only intimates realized how "Mary Frances" supplied much of the backbone for Dr. Fickett's public role.

She relished becoming friends with the many people her vocation brought into her life. Known for her remarkable kindness, she believed that her happiness lay in serving others. She proved that principle every day of her exceptional life.

Jesus says, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Mrs. Fickett did just that. Her family is comforted in the knowledge that untold numbers of people welcomed her into heaven grateful for her role in their salvation. But first to greet her musts surely have been her Harold.

A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, where she was named among the "most influential seniors," she met her future husband during the summer of 1939, when he served as interim minister at The First Baptist Church of Nacogdoches.

After their whirlwind life, the couple returned to Nacogdoches in retirement, providing care for Mrs. Fickett's mother, Mrs. Lorene Dorsey, who died at 103 years of age. Mrs. Fickett's life exemplified the adage: "If you know where you come from, you can go anywhere." She loved her hometown, constantly returning over the years.

Mrs. Mary Frances Fickett is survived by her three children, Mary Fickett Tinsley of Houston, Texas, Ruth Fickett Ranes and husband, Richard, of Montgomery, Texas, and Harold L. Fickett, III and wife, Karen of Atlanta, Georgia; grandchildren, Ann Tinsley Bilello and husband, Brian, Sara Tinsley Ratliff and husband, Joe, Kirsten Ranes Freed and husband, John, Tyson Ranes and wife, Stephanie, Justin Ranes and wife, Kara, Hal Fickett and wife, Gina and Will and Eve Fickett; great grandchildren, Thomas and Tinsley Bilello, Elle and Emme Ratliff, Dallas, Madison and Johnny Freed, Judah Ranes, Presley Ranes and Elijah Fickett.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at First Baptist Church in Nacogdoches officiated by Pastor Emeritus Dr. Allen Reed. Graveside service will follow at Sunset Memorial Park.

Friends and family are invited to visitation from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at Cason Monk-Metcalf.

Online condolences may be left at

Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors, located at 5400 North Street in Nacogdoches.