“Mama” Mary Eva Edwards Coward - Hartsville, SC
Mrs. “Mama” Mary Eva Edwards Coward, age 75, entered her Heavenly Home on Friday, November 4, 2022 at 1:55 p.m. while at the McLeod Hospice House surrounded by her five sons.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hartsville, SC. Rev. Paul A. Coward, Jr. and Rev. Chris Alderman will officiate. A burial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. at the Evergreen Cemetery in Sumter, SC. Visitation will take place Friday, November 11 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Norton Funeral Home, Hartsville, SC.
Mrs. “Mama” Mary Eva Edwards Coward entered this world on Wednesday, November 13, 1946 in Kinston, NC – Lenoir County, the home of her grandparents, the late Milton and Eva Lovick. The purpose for including Wednesday is to convey that “Mama Mary,” as she became to be affectionately called, began to write an autobiography about her life entitled, “Wednesday’s Child.”
Mama Mary grew up in Kinston, NC as a child before moving to Sumter, SC where she would attend Edmonds High School (now Sumter High). She met the love of her life, Paul Alderman Coward, while in junior high, and both attended Grace Baptist Church. They were high school sweethearts and finally married on June 4, 1966 once her “daddy,” as she called him, graduated from Clemson University where she became a lifelong Tiger fan. They remained faithful to one another for nearly 50 years before God called her husband home on July 4, 2015.
God blessed Mama Mary and her husband, Paul, with five boys – Paul, Jr., Daniel, Thomas, Philip (with ONE “L”), and Jacob - all Biblical names. Mama Mary loved her family very much, making many sacrifices as a wife and a mother because she deeply cared for her husband and her five sons. As a cosmetologist – yes, Mama Mary earned a certificate to become a hair dresser – she helped support “her daddy” through medical school at MUSC where he studied to become a pediatrician – something for which she was very proud.
As a lifelong homemaker and stay-at-home-mom of five boys, Mama Mary put in MORE hours than many mothers who work outside the home. Mama Mary loved to cook, especially for her family. With a husband, who had quite the appetite and 5 boys, you know she learned to cook for a small army, but she loved to cook. She kept her house immaculate, although very crowded since she NEVER threw anything out, except the garbage – but even then, she made sure it was trash. Imagine the number of loads of laundry she washed! Even with all of this, Mama Mary made the time to attend every ballgame for all five of her sons.
Mama Mary also served faithfully for the Darlington County voter registration – some 25 plus years. In fact, the fall that eventually led to her death took place on the same day she had gone to help prepare the ballot boxes for the upcoming election. She also volunteered and served at Emmanuel Christian School. She was a deaf interpreter for Caring Hearts Pediatrics which was founded by her husband.
Her life reflected her “life verse,” Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Mama loved Jesus. She loved children. She loved the Jewish people, because Her Savior, Jesus Christ, was a Jew. She loved the nation of Israel and took several trips to the Holy Land where she made a lifelong friend. Mama Mary prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, and supported the nation of Israel along with many Jewish ministries.
Mama Mary accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and personal Savior at the age of twelve. Although she never had any formal training in education, she became a lifelong Children’s Bible teacher where she dedicated over 50 years of her life teaching boys and girls about Jesus. Everywhere Mama Mary went and everyone she spoke with – and she spoke to everybody – she told them about Jesus and asked them if they knew Jesus as their personal Savior. She loved the gospel message – that Jesus Christ died on a cross and shed His own blood as a perfect sacrifice in order to pay the penalty for the sins for all mankind and satisfy the wrath of God against all ungodliness; that Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb; and that He rose again, that is, Jesus came back to life and conquered death, disease, and the devil. Mama would tell you the only way to heaven comes by putting your faith in Jesus Christ alone. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish (die), but have everlasting life” – John 3:16.
Mama Mary was a fully-surrendered servant of the Lord first and foremost. She lived her life sacrificially as she would put her husband and five sons above her own needs. Mama Mary faithfully served the Lord at her church, Emmanuel Baptist, in many ways: children’s ministries - Sunday School teacher – she especially loved teaching 3rd-6th graders, VBS, Awana, children’s church, Trunk or Treat, and even children’s choir. Mama Mary served the senior adult ministry known as “The Keenagers,” acted in Christmas plays - because she was a "drama queen" - and if you know her, you KNOW that is true; a counselor in Judgment House, interpreted for the deaf ministry, and whatever else she could do at church including going on a medical mission’s trip to Zambia. Mama Mary also served the Darlington Raceway Ministries which provided water and a place to sit while sharing the gospel for all the Darlington races.
Mama Mary lived a full and abundant life for her Savior and Lord. She was preceded in death by her father, John William Edwards, her mother, Mary Louise Arbor, her husband, Paul Alderman Coward, and her grandson, Paul Alderman Coward, III. She is survived by her stepfather, Donald James Arber, her brother, Jimmy Arber, her five sons: Paul, Jr. (Anna), Darlington, SC, Danny (Patricia), Winston-Salem, NC, Tommy (Angela), Columbia, SC, Philip (Mayelin), Miami Lakes, FL, and Jacob (Xochitl), Hartsville, SC. Mama Mary is also survived by 19 grandchildren, one great grandchild, and a host of many other cousins. She loved all of her grandchildren and her one great grandchild with all her heart.
"A Life so beautifully lived, should be beautifully remembered"
Memorials should be made out to Emmanuel Baptist Church Children’s Ministry