Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Mary Earnest

October 10, 1944 - December 4, 2020
Lawton, MI



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Fresenius Kidney Care
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of Mary Earnest, it was easy to see that there was no greater gift than the love of her family. She was deeply devoted to making sure that each of her loved ones felt her unconditional love, and her devotion to them was without end. Life wasn’t always easy for Mary, but she took everything in stride and made the most of each and every day that she was given. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a legacy that is deeply rooted in the incredible gift of family that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.

Life during the first half of the 1940s was primarily focused on the realities of war as WWII raged on overseas. Countless young servicemen and women answered the call to fight for the preservation of the freedoms that we still enjoy today. Despite the uncertainties around them, Perry and Letha (Penn) Jeffries were able to focus on an exciting time in their lives as they welcomed the baby girl they named Mary into their hearts and home on October 10, 1944, in South Bend, Indiana. She was one of seven children as she was joined by her siblings, Judy, Robert, Delores, Beck, Ev, and Jean.

Raised in the family home across from a church, Mary was a typical young girl of her generation. She and her family helped take care of the church grounds, and they also attended services there every Sunday. It has been said that Mary was a defiant child who was known for sneaking out of the house. She also left school after the 10th grade.

Daily life was forever changed for Mary when she met the man who would be an important part of her life in so many ways. His name was Jerry L Patterson Sr. and they married when she was 20 years old. Together they were blessed with the births of four children including Monica, Letha, Connie, and Jerry Lee. Mary and her husband was an adventurous couple. They enjoyed motorcycle riding even went to the Florida Keys to go snorkeling. Although their marriage later ended in divorce, Mary was forever grateful for the children they shared.

Mary was a hard worker and one job that she enjoyed was as a caterer at The Spot restaurant in Sidney, Ohio, which was also a great fit as Mary loved to cook. One of her favorite foods was her daughter Connie’s mashed potatoes and gravy; she also loved to eat corn. This was quite the sight as she was always a little messy, and as her family can attest one never knew where the corn would end up. Mary loved pulling pranks with her kids and had an insatiable sense of humor that made her willing to do just about anything to get a laugh.

In everything she did, Mary’s family came first. She always made sure she had a camera within reach to log all their moments together, and holidays like Christmas were her absolute favorite. At any family gathering there was always charades and cards, but what made these times so memorable were all the pranks and uncontrollable bouts of laughter. When her kids were at home Mary was known as “Mom” to so many including various neighborhood kids. Later on, she married Robert Earnest Sr., and they were married for 39 years until his passing in 2019. Together they shared so many of life’s monumental moments. Although they couldn’t always be together as a family, Mary always made sure that she never forgot making a loved one feel uniquely loved on their birthday. For years Mary treasured the companionship of her dog, Cubby, and they were nearly inseparable. Her family appreciated her for her love for all things Mickey Mouse and she also loved tending to her flowers.

All who knew Mary Earnest would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She took her role as a mother to heart, and her greatest legacy will be the unconditional love she gave to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A nurturer at heart, Mary was there for whoever needed her in ways both great and small. Through her example she taught others to do unto others as they’d want done to them. A big kid at heart, Mary’s zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.

Mary was preceded in death by her first husband, Jerry Patterson Sr.; second husband, Robert Earnest Sr.; and 2 sisters, Judy Locks and Delores Patterson. Members of her family include her 4 children: Monica (Mark) Howe, Letha Patterson, Connie Patterson (Kevin Smith) and Jerry Jr. (Donna) Patterson; 9 grandchildren; several great- grandchildren; 4 siblings: Robert (Linda) Jeffries, Beck (Mike) Clouse, Ev Jeffries and Jean (Richard) Clary and many nieces and nephews. Private services will take place at the Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw, MI 49075 (269) 657-3870. Cremation will follow services. Please visit Mary’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Fresenius Kidney Care Center.