Mary John Espy Phinizy, wife of TSCRA Honorary Director Bill Phinizy, died April 22, 2019. She was 73.
She was born June 7, 1945, in San Angelo, to Mary Leontine (Watson) and Howard Espy. The family made their home on the ranch outside Sonora.
She attended the University of Colorado and Texas Tech University. Through mutual friends, Mary John met Bill Phinizy, who was then assistant manager for the Pitchfork Ranch. They married June 22, 1968.
The couple lived at the Pitchfork for three years and welcomed two children, Will and Kate. They began ranching in Borden County in 1975, where Mary John was active in school activities, watching sports, volunteering for 4-H, FFA, and decorating and cooking for every stock show and banquet. Many will remember her as a long-term sub at Borden County ISD. After Will and Kate left for college and jobs, Mary John homeschooled neighbor children for eight years.
Still, her favorite job was working alongside Bill on the ranch. She enjoyed serving on the Executive Board of Directors of the National Ranching Heritage Association in Lubbock. The couple were long-time members of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Big Spring. Her greatest joy in later years was to love and listen to, laugh with, and teach a new generation — her grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents. Survivors include her husband, Bill Phinizy of Gail; a son, Will (Michelle) Phinizy, of Gail; a daughter, Kate (Ryan) Davis, of Spearman; five grandchildren, Jacob Phinizy, Laura Phinizy, Mary Margaret Davis, Jack Davis, and Cy Davis; a sister, Tom Elaine (Bud) Whitehead, of Sonora, and many relatives and friends.
Memorials may be made to National Ranching Heritage Center, P.O. Box 43200, Lubbock, TX 79409.
Published in the July 2019 Issue of The Cattleman Magazine