Mary Faye T. Powell: March 2, 2015

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015

AMERICUS — Mary Faye Thomas Dudley Powell passed away at 3:20 a.m. Monday, March 2, 2015. She was at peace, surrounded by family, and anticipating the greatest adventure of all, where she would be greeted with the peace that surpasses all human understanding and enveloped in the purest love. She did not want people to be sad for her loss, but to celebrate the wonderful life she had on this earth. As she wished, there will be a service and celebration of her life immediately following at 11 a.,. Thursday, March 5 at Calvary Episcopal Church in Americus, Ga., with Father Rick Buechner officiating. All are invited. A private committal service for the family will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest with her mother and father.

She was the deeply loved only child of Woodrow Wilson Thomas of Plains, Ga., and Maedell Tyler Thomas of Buena Vista, Ga. She was the first love and wife of her childhood sweetheart, Ainsworth Gatewood Dudley, with whom she shared with pride her four children. Together they traveled the world and lived on two continents before returning to Americus. She attended Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., as a music major, graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., with a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish, and pursued graduate studies in French at Georgia Southwestern College, L’Universite de Dijon, France, and Georgia State University Graduate School in Atlanta.

Her professional life began with the privilege of working in Plains, Ga., on the Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign, with a subsequent presidential appointment as director of Environmental Youth Awards Program, Washington, D.C. She then lived and worked in Melbourne, Australia, for the Department of Health and served as acting Press Secretary for Tom Roper, Minister of Health. Back in Washington, D.C., she served as director of Special Projects for the Gibran Foundation, and was proud to have helped plan and execute the memorial garden to honor Arab Americans. After many other adventures, including living and working in Burlington, N.C., where she had a joyful few years with her daughter, grandchildren, in-laws and many wonderful friends, she returned to her home of Americus, Ga., where she served as special assistant to Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity. It is there where she met and married the second love of her life, James Preston Powell, and enjoyed her most content years on his farm where the view inspired her to complete her life-long desire to write and publish a children’s book, “The Adventures of Patroller Puffer,” with illustrations by all of her grandchildren and stepgrandchildren.

She is survived by her husband, James Preston Powell and his large, loving family of Americus, Tennessee, and North Carolina; by her first husband, Ainsworth Gatewood Dudley and his wife Cindy of Americus and her children and stepchildren: Woodrow Thomas Dudley and his wife Annie of Orlando, Fla., Sissy Dudley Ledbetter of Americus, Ga., Ainsworth Gatewood Dudley Jr. and his former wife, Angie of Athens, Ga., Shannon Dudley McQueen and her husband Chap of Burlington, N.C., Pamela Powell Carson and her husband Todd of Americus, Ga., and Teresa Powell Vogt of Maryville,Tenn. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and three stepgrandchildren: Maedell, Woodrow and Jeremy Dudley of Orlando Thomas, Tyler and Steven Ledbetter of Americus, Harper Calhoun and Ainsworth Dudley III of Athens, Sarah, Emma and Bobby McQueen of Burlington, Jessica and Shelby Carson of Americus, and Kassie Vogt of Maryville. She was proceeded in death by her parents Woodrow and Maedell Thomas of Americus, her son-in-law Steve Ledbetter of Americus, and many other special friends and family around the world.

Mary Faye loved to travel, read, sing in the choir, dance, cook, write poetry, meet new people and places, beautiful views, music, lunch bunch, the literary club and cocktail hour. But, most of all, she will be remembered for her ability to fill any room she was ever in with her grace, charm and beauty.

She requested that she would like to omit sending flowers, but instead please consider a gift to Calvary Episcopal Church or Phoebe Sumter Hospice in appreciation for the wonderful and tender care of the staff there.

To sign our online guestbook and express your condolences to the family, please visit

Hancock Funeral Home, 427 S. Lee St., is honored to be entrusted with these arrangements for Mary Faye Thomas Dudley Powell.