Monday, November 4, 2019

Mary Helen Ponte of Fourth Crossing

                         May 27, 1943 - October 24, 2019

   Mary Helen (Wright) Ponte passed away at home while receiving hospice care at the Ponte Ranch in Fourth Crossing in the early hours of Thursday morning, October 24, 2019, after
spending the prior evening surrounded by family and friends.

   Mary Helen's life-long focus on family and faith was reflected in her final days as her family shared stories, laughter and love at her bedside, and her church family sang beautiful hymns and said prayers
to prepare heaven to receive one of its most ardent angels.

   Born at Fort Sam Houston, a US Army post in San Antonio, Texas, on May 27, 1943, Mary Helen was the first of ten children born to Army Sergeant CB Wright and Mary Lou Wright.

   Mary Helen spend her early childhood in Crockett, Texas  In 1957, when Mary Helen was 14, the family moved to Dallas.

   She started her first job at the Piccadilly Cafeteria shortly after moving there.  She worked part-time during her school years and throughout the summers.

   She selflessly sacrificed so much for all of her younger siblings and set the pace for them.  Her siblings all started their first jobs at 16 and also contributed to the household budget.

   Mary Helen spent many of her young adult years helping her parents care for her special sister, Debbie.

   Mary Helen graduated from Kimball High School in 1961, followed by Draughons Business School, which she used to launch her professional career as an administrative secretary.

   Her first job out of college was for Lone Star Gas in Dallas and then she transitioned to faith-based ministries, including Southwest Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and Northwest Baptist Convention in Portland, Oregon, a city that captured and held a part of her heart for the rest of her life.  Later, she returned to Texas to work at Dallas Baptist Foundation.

   On a trip to visit her sister Janie (Wright) Stephens in Northern California in 1984, Mary Helen met and fell in love with her California cowboy, Ronald Raymond Ponte, while on a moonlit horseback ride.

   They married on December 9, 1985.  She easily assumed the role of "bonus mom" to Mary Jean (Ponte) Allan (a 'bonus' that came with Ron).

   Mary Helen and Ron enjoyed watching westerns and taking drives in the countryside.  They both cherished their memories and photos from their Alaskan cruise in 2000.

   As Ron's multiple sclerosis worsened, Mary Helen was both wife and caregiver; her diligence and dedication added years to Ron's life.

   While living on the Ponte Ranch,  Mary Helen resumed her secretarial work in private law offices, including a few years for Mora Murphys in Angels Camp and the majority of her Calaveras career for Bruce Calderwood in Murphys.

   Mary Helen was an active Baptist throughout her life, leading many Sunday school classes in her tenure.  Her final house of worship was at the Grace Fellowship Church in San Andreas, where she loved to sing gospel songs in her distinctive soprano voice.

   She was a life-long blood donor (over 8 gallons) and an avid volunteer for the Calaveras County Library, a demonstration of her love of people and the community.

   Her hobbies included counted cross stitch, photography, collecting unique and vintage postcards, reading and keeping up with her handwritten correspondence that she enclosed in her custom, handmade envelopes made from repurposed calendar pages.   She loved receiving Christmas cards ans post cards from family and friends.

  She helped raise the writing scores for several classes of 4th graders by exchanging pen-pal notes with each of them, promoting her love of writing.  She instilled her love of reading in multiple niece and nephews by taking them to the library when they were young.

   She is survived by her "bonus daughter" Mary Jean Allan of El Dorado Hells, sisters Shirley Lewallyn and Frances Kulas and brothers Milton, Elwood, James, Jimmy and C.B. Wright, Jr of the great state of Texas, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and more relatives.

   She is preceded in death by her husband Ronald Ponte, parents Mary Lou and C.B., sisters Janie Stephens of Angels Camp and Debbie Wright of Dallas, Texas.

   A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Grace Fellowship Church in San Andreas at 11 AM.

   In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation in Mary Helen's honor to your local library, donate blood at your local blood bank, or perhaps less painfully, mail a post card the next time you travel.

   Angels Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean Fourth Crossing??