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1938 Mary 2021

Mary Helen Sams

November 24, 1938 — January 20, 2021

Mary Helen Sams

Tupelo- Mary Helen McClure Sams went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at Sanctuary Hospice House after a long battle with breast cancer. Born on November 24, 1938, in West Point, Mississippi, she was the daughter of Charles N. and Mannie Mae Clenin and Roy W. McClure. She graduated from West Point High School in 1956, and in 1958, married her high school sweetheart, L. F. “Sandy” Sams, Jr. Together they raised, as Mary Helen would say, four “positively productive children.”

In the late 1970’s, Mary Helen and her family moved to “the country,” the community of Eggville, where she was a proud member of Eggville Ladies. There, her gift of gardening flourished as she grew flowers, fruit trees, muscadines and vegetables. She is famous for her pickles, and if you were ever given a jar of her pickles, you had certainly gained her favor.
Affectionately known as Mungy by her eleven grandchildren, Mary Helen was a hands-on and devoted presence in their lives. Mungy’s love for her grandchildren was unwavering and is enduring. For her family, but especially for her grandchildren, Mungy organized tail-gait gatherings in The Grove, fishing excursions to the White River in Arkansas, treks to the garden to harvest vegetables, many wonderful days at “The River,” and accompanied her grandchildren to golf tournaments, baseball games, horse shows and Ole Miss Bowl games. Through the years, Mungy was amentor, advisor, giver of unconditional love, and creator of many precious memories that her grandchildren will cherish for a lifetime.

Mungy did not limit her love and wisdom to family members only. Many who were not family were taken under her wing and were “raised” by her as well - you know who you are. She was a memorable 5th grade Sunday School teacher at Harrisburg Baptist Church, as well as a leader of the couples class with Sandy. She also adored the children she taught for many years at the Lee County Youth Court Discipline School.

Mungy will be sorely missed, but she can now rest in peace knowing she equipped each of her loved ones with the essentials in life to move on and follow in her footsteps. As she often advised: Remember the Lord puts people in our lives for a reason. Be open to them. Always nurture, be tender and understanding. Mungy lived the words she taught, consequently blessing the lives of so many.

Mary Helen is survived by her husband of 62 years, L. F. “Sandy” Sams, Jr.; her older son, Dr. Lee Sams (Kathryn) of Jackson; daughter-in- law, Jane Mattox Sams of Guntown; two daughters, Christie Sams Rees (Jason) of Knoxville, Tenn., and Mary Margaret Sams Gratz (Michael) of Tupelo; former daughter-in-law, Toni Sams; and 11 grandchildren, Becker Sams (Weatherly), Sarah Weyrens (Nick), Taylor Sams (Allie), Jake Rees (Madison), Jamesen Rees, Christian Rees, Austin Blinson (Logan), Anne Daniel Sams, Charlie Gratz, Lucy Gratz, and Michael B. Gratz; and seven great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

She was preceded in death by her beloved son Carr Sams; her parents; her loving stepfather Charles N. “Papa Charlie” Clenin; her sister Clara Katherine McClure Francis; and her brothers Roy W. “Doonie” McClure, Jr. and Randy McClure.
A celebration of life will be attended by family on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at the home of Michael and Mary Margaret Gratz, with Mungy’s grandson-in-law Reverend Nick Weyrens presiding.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Sanctuary Hospice House, 5159 West Main Street, Tupelo, Mississippi 38801; St Jude Children’s Hospital; or Batson Children’s Hospital, Jackson, Mississippi.

Expressions of sympathy may be left at .
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Helen Sams, please visit our flower store.


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