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Cora's Story

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A celebration of Cora Mayes' life will be held Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at the Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta at 2 pm.
Cora Emily Mayes, aged 72, died peacefully on August 26, 2017 at her home in Gainesville, Texas after a long battle with colon cancer.
Cora was born on November 18, 1944 in Marietta, Oklahoma, the daughter of Herman Travis Southerland and Jessie Oleta Southerland.
Cora attended Marietta Public School. She and John L. Mayes were married in 1970 and together raised six children. Shortly after, she began her 40 year career with Big Five. She started as a parent volunteer in Head Start at Greenville Public School and worked her way up the ranks at the agency, while obtaining her college degree from Murray State College and Langston University. She was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Chi. At the time of her retirement on July 8, 2016, she held the key position of Education Specialist for Big Five Head Start, a position she held for many years. Cora was an integral part of the management team which oversaw the expansion of Big Five Head Start into 23 counties in Oklahoma. From classroom layout to teaching instruction, she was directly responsible for the educational outcomes of literally tens of thousands of Head Start children in Oklahoma during her career.
Cora was a compassionate, loving, and selfless woman who would help anyone in need, including her family. Her passion was cooking. She faithfully cared for her family and friends by cooking and creating delicious food and recipes. Even throughout her struggle with cancer, her strong will to live, unwavering faith in God, and the love and prayers of family, friends, and supporters carried her through this difficult journey. Cora was a woman of faith, having given her life to Jesus Christ as a young girl. She was of the Baptist faith.
Cora was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Doug Southerland.
Cora is survived by her children; four sons, Rodger Mayes and wife Lisa of Pilot Point, Texas, Michael Mayes and wife Robin of Leon, John Mayes and wife Melinda of Lake Kiowa, Texas, and Justin Mayes and Joe Reyna of Dallas, Texas; two daughters, Anne Lane and husband Johnny of Marietta and Regina Mayes of Gainesville, Texas; sister, Stella Holland of Whitesboro, Texas; two brothers, Jim Southerland and wife Penny of Gainesville, Texas and John Southerland and wife Glenda of Walnut Bend, Texas; sister-in-law, Lisa Southerland; 12 grandchildren, Ashley Cayton, Brock Mayes, Kyle Hallum, Johnna Hannah, Mariah Mayes, Trey Mayes, Levi Mayes, Lindsey Mayes, Josh Mayes, Jaydin Cummins, John Casey Cummins, and Wacey Harp; 9 great-grandchildren, Parker Cayton, Amberly Hallum, Kenley Hallum, Jasie Hannah, Jaelin Hannah, Sidney Hannah, Ryder Hannah, Myndi Harp, and Tatum Harp; special niece, Brenda Alejos of Whitesboro, Texas; and her beloved cat, Rosy.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Big Five Community Services or the American Cancer Society.
Published on August 29, 2017
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