On a beautiful Saturday evening, August 5, Mary Ann Beam Huffstetler left her frail body and became a citizen of God’s glorious kingdom. Now she is celebrating with her mother and daddy and her two big sisters and two big brothers who she adored. Our hearts are broken but we rejoice in the knowledge that one day soon, by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we too will join that happy band.
Mary Ann graduated from Kings Mountain High School in 1957 and attended Limestone College. She married Palmer E. Huffstetler on August 9, 1958. Mary Ann was born at her parents’ home place in Kings Mountain, N.C. on November 29, 1938. She started school barely one block from her home at West School on Mountain Street. At about age 7 she began to take piano lessons and became quite adept in playing that instrument. In her early years she played piano for the Wednesday night prayer service at Central United Methodist Church in Kings Mountain. She continued formal piano instruction until she reached the age of 14. Although she played with unusual feeling and expression, she played only for her personal enjoyment. She was an excellent basketball player at Kings Mountain High School where she lettered in both her junior and senior years. Mary Ann was selected to play on the Cleveland County all-star team with another teammate. The two guards held their opponent’s star to only 17 points, well below her average of 45 points per game. In her junior year she was tapped as a member of The National Honor Society and named a Junior Marshall in recognition of her superior leadership and academic skills. In her senior year she was elected Queen of May by the students of KMHS. Mary Ann was named a delegate to Girls’ State at UNC Greensboro and was also a delegate to the N C National Honor Society Convention in Durham, NC in 1957. She was named a debutante and made her debut before Western North Carolina Society in Shelby in 1957.
She began courting her future husband on New Year’s Eve night 1951. After attending Limestone College she and Palmer were married at Central United Methodist Church in Kings Mountain. Palmer entered Wake Forest Law School that Fall and Mary Ann became the secretary to the Director of Admissions at Wake Forest (Dr. Louis Aycock) and the Assistant Director (W.G. Starling). She held that position for the three year period Palmer attended law school. Following the couple’s residency in Winston-Salem, they lived in Kings Mountain, Orlando, Raleigh, and Cherryville where they have resided since 1964. Mary Ann concentrated her time on rearing their three sons but also found time to actively serve her church and assist in her sons’ school activities. At First United Methodist Church she served in various capacities including choir member, Sunday school teacher, worship committee member, pictorial church directory chair, and as a member of the sanctuary committee during the construction of the new church facility in 1971-72. In addition, she served as vacation church school director and as a teacher. She was a member of the Aunt Pearl Harrelson Circle and later the Ida Wright Circle at Cherryville First United Methodist Church.
Mary Ann and Palmer enjoyed traveling with their children and grandchildren and, in their later years, in the western states, the South Carolina beaches, and Florida. She had a lifetime love of music, often spending hours at her piano playing classical selections, Broadway hits, and romantic songs of the 1940s and 1950s. During the early 2000s she displayed her writing skills while penning several essays on special stories of her youth. Her expressions were open and heartfelt with feeling and emotion.
Mary Ann is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, her three sons, Palmer, Jr. (Tiffne), Ben (Pam), Tad, and three grandchildren (Palmer III, Alice Ann, and Benjamin Beam) two great grandchildren (Sadie Grace and Eliza), and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her as a gracious and caring person who shared an unforgettable smile with everyone she greeted.
She was preceded in death by two sisters (Dorothy Harrill, Margaret Harmon) and two brothers (Walter and Bill Harmon) as well as her parents, Ben and Sarah Mae Beam.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at First United Methodist Church with Reverend Zack Christy officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 1:45 PM prior to the service in the church fellowship hall. A private burial service will be held in Kings Mountain at Mountain Rest Cemetery.
The family extends its gratitude and deep appreciation to the management and staff of Peak Resources, Cherryville for their kindness and warm, encouraging support during Mary Ann’s time there.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Endowment Fund of First United Methodist Church, 601 North Pink Street, Cherryville, N.C. 28021