Mary Francis Gooch was born June 14, 1946 in Oakland, Mississippi to Rebbie and David Gooch. She was the second of six children born to Rebbie. At the age of one, Mary, affectionately known to her loved ones as Francis, moved to St. Louis, Missouri. It was there where she met and married Edward Bufford, Jr., and her three children were born to that union: LaDoris Denise (DeeDee), Tonya Shareath, and Edward LaMont. Although they later parted ways, Mary always spoke highly of Edward, and they maintained a good relationship.
As a child, Francis did not have much, which led to her leaving school for work at an early age. Although she never graduated, Francis pursued education through those around her and by reading. She was a very intelligent woman. No one would have ever guessed that she was not formerly educated when she spoke. Francis possessed a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that she eagerly shared whenever the opportunity arose.
In May 2021, Mary retired from Daimler-Chrysler after close to 30 years of service. Through this job, she no longer worried about how she would take care of herself or her children. She was a strong woman; some thought she would not last on that job because of her small physique, but she was strong-willed as well and determined to be successful. She also enjoyed helping people whenever she could because she never forgot her humble beginnings. Mary was very selfless; she would help anyone with just about anything—she would not support someone else’s habit. She thought you should be able to do that yourself.
Francis never thought she was naturally pretty, but she was. She made up for it by ensuring that her clothes were coordinated very nicely. She looked good in whatever she wore; she was so stylish that she influenced several others in her life. People loved being around her because she was a fun-loving person with a heart of gold. She loved dancing, being around friends and family, as well as meeting new people. Mary also dedicated her life to Christ and became a member of First Baptist of Elmwood Park in St. Louis, Missouri. She truly loved her church and church family; she served on the Mother Board until her health failed her, but she always talked about them and prayed that she could someday return to in person services.
Mary’s father, her first-born child, LaDoris Bufford, and granddaughter, Amber Bufford, preceded her in death. Left to cherish her memory are: her wonderful mother, Rebbie Lowery; her loving children, Tonya Yancey (Eddie) and Edward LaMont Bufford; five siblings, Eva Mae Gooch, Mennie Lee Gooch, Bellis Jarrett, Jr., Lucy Bell Williams, and Tawana Michelle Jackson (Brian); a very supportive niece, LaKisha Elkins; nine grandchildren, Erica Nicole Gillespie, Ebony Francis Bufford, Shay Cox, DeLancey and DeVaughn Bufford; Destiny Malika, Princess Asata, Precious Hadassah, and Angel Makeda Yancey; seven great-grandchildren, Dentson Reed, Jr., DeLancey Jr. (DJ), Dmarien, Dylan, and Violet Bufford; Duchess and JaMarious Cathey Jr.; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
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