Thursday, March 26, 2009 at Memorial Oaks Mausoleum Chapel
Rev. Carolyn Sissom, officiating

 We are gathered today to celebrate and honor the life of an extraordinary woman who was a true Texan and American.
  Last night at the visitation a friend visiting from California said to me, "This lady is royalty."  Yes, she is Texas Royalty.    To Atha, she was sister, to Milo, John E., Rusty, Blevins, Athene, “T”and Suzanne, she was Aunt.  Athene told me a story of being with Maudeen when she was caring for her mother.  Maudeen told Athene, “I don’t come first with anyone.”  Athene’s reply was, "Aunt Maudeen one of us will always be able to put you first." All of you have cared for her during her illness.  I know she was greatly comforted and blessed by your love.

 Maudeen was my friend and I know she was a friend to all of you.  Proverbs 8:10:  “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: So does the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.”

Maudeen was not a religious woman.  However, I have every confidence she was in relationship with Jesus Christ. She was very discerning of people and their character.  She could spot a fake across the room. One Sunday she was visiting at the church and there was a new woman who had recently married one of our members.  Maudeen told me, “That is bad leaven and a little leaven will spoil the whole lump.”  She quoted Scripture to me more than once. That was wisdom which turned out to be prophetic. I dealt with the issue shortly thereafter.

Only the Lord could have given me favor with this great lady. She tested me more than once to see what I was made of.  She respected honesty, fairness, integrity and straight forward speaking.  She was a fair woman with fair dealings on an honest scale.  We made our deal for me to rent the church.  I always knew she was the boss lady.  Her friendship was the sweetness of hearty counsel.

I honored her for her great accomplishments in life.  I asked her one time, how she did it?  She replied, “I never thought I was doing anything special, I just did it one day at a time”.  All true honor originates from the heart.  This is why God says, “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me. And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.” (Isa. 29:13) You are here today because like me, you honored her from your heart and wish to pay tribute to this spunky lady.

All of you here could tell story after story of her exploits and humor.  One of the members of our church cut the grass around the buildings.  One day Maudeen came in from Bandera and J.T. was on the ranch cutting the grass.  She had never met him, so she threw him off the ranch until she could call me and find out who he was.

Well the good part of the story is that J.T. didn’t leave the church.  He is still coming to church and will always tell the story of how this little lady jumped out of her suburban, demanded to know what he was doing and threw him off the ranch.  I knew when J.T. came back to church that we had a man with some gumption and he was humble. To this day, he honors that little lady.

I have seen Maudeen be very kind to the weak and needy.  She had her own measuring rod of respect for her “neighbor”.  I believe she would like the famous story in Luke 10: 30-38:

There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho.  On the way he was attacked by robbers.  They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead.  Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side.  Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

A Samaritan traveling the road came on him.  When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him.  He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds.  Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable.  In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, and ‘Take good care of him.  If it costs any more, put it on my bill---I’ll pay you on my way back.’

“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor (friend) to the man attacked by robbers?”

“The one who treated him kindly.” The religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

 Like I said, Maudeen wasn’t religious but she was a Good Samaritan.  She wrote, “No one ever went hungry on the LH7, including Dad’s longhorns."  We have a basket of coins in the vestibule of the church.  We keep it there for anyone who needs lunch money or gas money.  The legacy that no one ever goes hungry on the LH7 still stands as a blessing.

I believe she found her way to the heart of Jesus.  She found her way to my heart. I loved her.

I believe she is in Heaven. She wrote in the "Texas Longhorn Cookbook and Campfire Tales" the following:

 “My idea of heaven is to own Texas, stock it with Texas Longhorn cattle, staff it with Texas Rangers, ride from windmill to windmill, and have a dance every night.”

I know she is dancing in heaven today. 

On another occasion when she visited the church, we were having as our guest speaker, Carolyn Vance, who was going to give a presentation on a study she had done on the Marks’ family and the LH7 ranch.  Unbeknownst to any of us, Maudeen was about to make one of her surprise visits.  There were some ladies with Carolyn’s group waiting at the gate for me to come and unlock it.

Maudeen drove up.  She asked them who they were.  They told her their mission was to speak on the ranch, Maudeen Marks and the Marks’ family.  They invited her to attend the service. 
Maudeen accepted their invitation without telling them who she was.

 When I arrived, you can imagine my level of concern knowing her temperament.  Well, we continued with service as usual with our honored guests.  By this time, everyone knew who the real guest of honor was.  Our praise and worship was joyful and upbeat with dancers throwing flags.  Maudeen was blessed with the music, dance and flags as well as the presentation by Carolyn Vance.  To make the evening even more perfect, Carol Vance was there.  He was gallant and attentive to her.   She told me later that years ago when she had her Houston galas that she always made sure he was on the guest list.

The Lord set me up for a blessing that night, but I was sweating too much to know how blessed I was until it was all over.  Maudeen went home with me to spend the night.  I am very grateful for that appointed evening that only the Lord could have orchestrated.

Maudeen loved her family, her longhorns and the ranch at Barker.  She also wrote in the same cookbook the following about the

 “I remember one time in the bull pasture, an old bull got down, and we knew he was going to die.  The other bulls came up, formed a protective circle around him, and stayed with him until he died.”  In her hand writing she wrote, ‘Longhorns mourn their kin.  I’ve seen it more than once.” Maudeen.

 Proverbs 12:10:  “A righteous man regards the life of his beast”.

 I honor Maudeen as a righteous woman.

 She, Atha, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Maud have the honor of the Maud Smith Marks Library.  She told me the story of how her mother started the first library in Barker.  Maudeen would sit in the vestibule of the church and check out books.  At the church today, we keep books for people to take home with them free of charge, they are on the honor system to return them, keep them, or pass them on.  The legacy still continues on the LH7 ranch in Barker, Texas.

 She was a writer, poet, artist, collector, classic pianist, rancher, horse woman, businesswoman, good neighbor, friend, good Samaritan
 , conservationalist, actress, ornathologist, gourmet cook as well as down-home cook and historian. She was an acquaintance and well known with many Hollywood  celebrities and many  who performed at the Houston Rodeo over the years.  We are not name-dropping here today.  It was just a fact.  The list includes,  John Wayne,  Eddie Arnold, The Cisco Kid, Hop-a-Long Cassidy, Roy Rogers  and Dale Evans , Rex Allen, Gene Autry , Ace Reid, Lucille Ball and Brenda Lee.   When Brenda Lee was a child singer, Maudeen brought her out to the LH7-Barker, Texas to enjoy playing on the ranch.  

When Maudeen was working in Houston Public Relations she was given the job of handling Prince Edward when he came to Houston to promote the Boy's Clubs.  During that season of her life, she and two of her friends, Betty Rose who was formerlly associated with K.I.K.K. radio and Ann Valentine, former food editor of the Houston Post had quite a reputation as the three muskateers.

 She died owning two ranches  and establishing the Barker Historical Society which consists of a church, log cabins an old country store,  with a museum filled with Texas antiques.   How did she do it?  She replied, “One day at a time.”

 She was known at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo as the lady with the pink hat. 

The Word of God says, "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.  The brethren which are with me greet you.”  I salute you Maudeen and have come today to honor you.

 Your Friend,
Carolyn Sissom 

POEM WRITTEN BY: Maudeen Marks

I was raised with longhorn cattle.

Browsed the open range

Knew the sound of hoof beats pounding

down upon the sun baked plains.

I have wandered with those slabsides

all among the purple brush.

Swum a thousand swollen rivers

slaked my thirst on thunder dust.

Now the silence of the night sky

softly falls upon her eys,

While a lonesome singing cowboy

drives away all doubts and fears.

Shh-settle down dogies

Settle down.


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