Mary Agnes Whatley

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Funeral Services for Mary Agnes Whatley, age 88, of Picayune, Mississippi, who passed away Sunday, March 4, 2018, will be held Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church of Picayune Estes Chapel.

Visitation will be Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm at McDonald Funeral Home. 

Entombment will be in Memorial Gardens Cemetery under the direction of McDonald Funeral Home.

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Dr. Keith Warden will officiate the service.

A native of Red Bank, New Jersey, she resided in Picayune, Mississippi since 1954, with her final years spent at Summerfield Retirement Community, Slidell, Louisiana. She was well known in Picayune, as Mary of Mary and Joe, Your Hometown Reporters on WRJW Radio station. Mary established and led the first Girl Scout Troop in Picayune, where she was a girl scout leader for several years.

Mary was on the building/architectural committee to design and construct the original St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picayune. Mary was a founding member of the Millbrook Country Club. She was an active member of the Jaycettes and a founding member of the Friends of the Library, with the construction of Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.

She was a founding member of the Republican Committee in Pearl River County, which helped Trent Lott to succeed in his first bid for U.S. Senate.

Mary was active and influential in a series of churches. She participated in the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church, including as a founding member of Women’s Aglow.

Mary was active in Unity Baptist Church including as a Sunday School Teacher for Teens. She was devoted to First Baptist Church of Picayune and her Truthseekers Sunday School Class. Mary volunteered at Christian Care Ministries and delivered meals for Meals on Wheels.

After her many active years as a homemaker, reporter, running Whatley’s Office Supply and Furniture and Commercial Printing Company, assisting her husband in his sales management of resorts, she became a sales associate and manager at J.C. Penney, retiring at age 71.

Her love of people, zest for life and eagerness to infuse any moment with laughter, made her the life of most gatherings. Mary’s love of dance, painting, politics and reading instilled those passions in her children and grandchildren.

Her mark on those who knew her is indelible. Mary was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, who will be truly missed by all who knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles Bottagaro and Anna Valleau Bottagaro; her husband of 56 years, Joe Henry Whatley; her daughter, Anna Whatley Smith; her son, John Hill Whatley; her brother, William “Buddy” Bott; and her sisters, Anna “Peachie” Gill, Viola “Babe” Frank, and Gloria “Dukie” Bottagaro.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Melinda (Bradley) Smolkin and Jill (Guy) Stegall; her son-in-law, Allen Smith; five grandchildren, Lauren (Jimmy) Smith Signorelli, Chloe Smolkin, Allison (B.J.) Stegall Condrey, Hailey (Huey III) Stegall Stockstill, and Jack Stegall; three great grandchildren, Ezra Condrey, Rhema Condrey, and Dominic Signorelli; her sister, Rose Blair; numerous nieces and nephews.

Obituary, driving directions, and register book can be found on the internet page, at

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Truthseekers SundaySchool Class, First Baptist Church of Picayune, Mississippi, P.O. Box 477, Picayune, Mississippi 39466.