December 11, 1934 - October 10, 2022
Eighty-seven years ago, the world was gifted with a kind, loving, wonderful soul named Mary Ella. The eldest of 9 surviving children born to Elvin Elmer and Wilma Jane Robison in Sarcoxie, Missouri, she was smart, hardworking, and loved the Lord with all her heart.
The 30's and 40's were hard times for many and it was no different for the Robisons, but they made the best of it. She traveled from Kansas to Oklahoma when she was 3 years old; the trip took one month by covered wagon. Then in 1946, Mary hitchhiked with her dad, going from Oklahoma to Chico, California, ahead of the rest of the family to help prepare for their arrival.
As the oldest child, Mary was always helping her dad: cross-sawing logs, milking the cows, and tending to other chores outside. This was the start of her love of the outdoors: gardening, tending her flowers, birdwatching, painting the landscape, and traveling to many of the 50 states. She was happiest out in God's country, enjoying the trees, plants, and animals; she was even kind to spiders. She had many precious pets over the years and loved them all deeply.
She was humble to a fault but all who knew Mary knew how sharp, capable, and creative she was. She had her pilot's license, was an ordained minister, could paint or draw anything, sculpted vases and dolls, and could knit a beautiful Afghan blanket blind-folded. Mary could make just about anything with her hands: clothing and soap, toys and Christmas ornaments, pies and candies, jewelry and birdhouses, and she usually did all these things with family and friends, sharing her skill and knowledge as she went. She once shot a buck and skinned, gutted, butchered, and put it in the freezer all by herself before the elk hunting men got back to the house empty-handed! She even built a big, sturdy picnic table just from looking at a picture of one.
Mary was always giving of herself and provided in-home care to special needs children for many years. She was also part of her church's nursing home ministry and would sing hymns and read bible verses to folks both older, and younger, than her.
Mary was a wonderful role model, strong, funny, and independent, she always found a way to accomplish whatever she set her mind to. She was a proud and loving mother to her four children: Robert, Jane, Glenda and Brenda; and a doting grandmother to 13 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren, and those "grandchildren" she "adopted" along the way. Her love knew no limits.
Mary, known by so many affectionate names to so many people (Mom, Mama, Grams, Granny, Aunt, and more) is loved and missed by them all. She leaves a hole in our hearts, and yet she leaves us too with a legacy of love, kindness, generosity, and acceptance that is simply unmatched.
Mary was preceded in death by her father and mother, Elvin and Wilma; husband, Jerry Knight; son, Robert Reno; siblings, Elizabeth Jane, David Zaniel, Clyde and Steve Robison, Patty Blevins, and Joan Brown.
Mary is survived by her siblings, Sandra Lambert, Pam Rummell, Tom Robison, and Larry Robison; children, Jane Reneau, Glenda Burke, and Brenda Hollandsworth; and many well-loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mary's celebration of life will be held at Christian Life Assembly, 1526 Humble Avenue, in Gridley, CA, on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at 1 pm.