Mary Groves

Mary Lou Everett Purviance Groves, 77, of Normal died at 10:52 a.m. Monday (March 21, 2005) at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Normal. Kibler-Smith Memorial Home is in charge of arrangements.

Service: 11 a.m. memorial service Saturday at Wesley United Methodist Church, 502 E. Front St., Bloomington, the Rev. Vaughn Hoffman officiating.

Burial: Keller Cemetery, Lovington.

Visitation: one hour preceding the memorial service at the church, the family will be available to receive guests.

Memorials: Wesley United Methodist Church Building Fund; Mayo Clinic Foundation for research on liver diseases; or a charity of the donor's choice.

Survivors: her husband, John R. Groves; a son, Chris (Pat) Purviance, Swedesboro, N.J.; three grandsons, David (Folcroft, Pa.), Brian (King of Prussia, Pa.), and Michael (Fort Lewis, Wash.); two granddaughters, Jenna and Julia (Swedesboro); a sister Jean (Dick) Shell, Canton; five nieces and two nephews; and two stepdaughters.

Mary was born on Dec. 17, 1927, at a farm house near Lovington. She was the fourth of seven children born to Charles Ellis and Bessie Gail Hinkle Everett. She was predeceased by her parents; her brothers, Johnnie and Kenneth Everett; her sister, Sarah June Robinson; two infant siblings; her former husband, Robert Purviance; and an infant son, James Michael Purviance.

Mary grew up in the Lovington area. During the WWII years, her family relocated to Portsmouth, Va., where she graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. After the family's return to Illinois, she worked as a secretary at the Lincoln State School and Colony in Lincoln. She later was employed with the State Farm Insurance Companies in Bloomington. She married Robert Purviance in June 1948. They moved to Norwood, Pa., to work at the State Farm regional office in Springfield, Pa., when it first opened.

Mary returned to Bloomington in 1972 and worked in State Farm's then-Personnel Department's Research Unit. She later was employed with the Tri-County Special Education District located in Bloomington as a transcriptionist-secretary. She married her husband John in 1994, and retired from her employment in 1995. She was a volunteer at the Atrium Cafe in the BroMenn Regional Medical Center. Mary was an active member of the Faith Circle of the United Methodist Women at Wesley UMC; the Kindred Spirits Book Club at Wesley; and a lay delegate for Wesley in the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.

Mary was a patient at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for a span of many years. Her part in a clinical research program led to the FDA's approval of ursodeoxycholic acid (URSO) being used as drug therapy for patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease of the liver of unknown etiology.

Mary enjoyed travel, her annual Hinkle-Davidson family reunions in the Effingham area, ballroom dancing, was a member of several dance clubs, read avidly, and did her best to provide a good, nurturing home environment for her family.