Mary Jo “Mama Sug” Lee Green

Funeral services for Mary Jo “Mama Sug” Lee Green, age 92 of Bernice, La, was held at 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at Mt. Patrick Baptist Church in Farmerville, LA with Bro. Ken Reeves officiating. Burial followed at Mt. Patrick Baptist Church Cemetery under the direction of Farrar Funeral Home.

Mary Jo Lee Green, known affectionately to all as “Mama Sug”, passed away on November 25, 2023, following a lengthy battle with COPD stemming from a childhood diagnosis of whooping cough.  She died at her home “The Farm”, near Bernice, LA, just a short distance from where she was reared. She was surrounded by family as she peacefully transitioned to the arms of our Lord.

Visitation will be held at Farrar Funeral Home, 312 Smith St, Farmerville, on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, from 5pm-7pm. Funeral services will be held at Mt. Patrick Church, 209 Patrick Church Rd, Bernice, on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 2pm. An additional visitation will be held on Wednesday from 1pm until the time of service. Interment will be at the Mt. Patrick Cemetery, adjacent to the church.

Mama Sug was born on October 13, 1931, in Union Parish, near Weldon, to Leroy and Florence Tabor Lee. On February 23, 1952, she married the love of her life, Virgil “Red” Green and they were married for 41 years until his death. Together, they raised six children: Jackie, Billie, Johnny, Sue, Bobby, and Cherry. Mama Sug played a vital role in the lives of her fifteen grandchildren, thirty great-grandchildren, and ten great-great-grandchildren, plus her Texas family.

Mama Sug is preceded in death by her parents, Leroy and Florence Tabor Lee, husband Virgil “Red” Green, sisters Christine Lee and Lorraine Taylor, brothers L.R. and Curtis Lee, son Johnny Green, son-in-law Alvin Austin, and nephews Jim and Tommy Lee. She is the third great-granddaughter of Lt. William Tabor, an American Revolutionary War soldier.

Mama Sug is survived by her sons Jackie Green and Billie Green (Judy), daughter-in-law Sharon Green, daughter Sue Austin, son Bobby Green (Beth), and daughter Cherry Lockwood (Barry). She is survived by 15 grandchildren: Timothy Griffin, Kim Taylor, Lee Green, David Green, Bobbie Sue Leonard, Joey Higginbotham, Jon Wesley Green, Carmen Murphrey, Justin Higginbotham, Jamie Hodges, Ben Green, Burt Green, Michelle Griffin, Stracy Austin, and Jennifer Austin. She is also survived by 30 great-grandchildren, 10 great-great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Mama Sug attended Union Gin school and later Bernice High School, where she graduated in 1950, in the first class required to attend 12 years of school, rather than 11, which was much to her dismay. She was raised in the country on a farm and quickly learned how to make the most of what she had, which was very little. On February 22, 1945, when she was 14 years old, her family got electricity for the first time, and she always recalled that as a good day. She was a longtime member of Mt. Patrick Baptist Church and later Mt. Sterling Baptist church, both in Bernice.

After she married and became a mother, she kept kids in her home in West Monroe for many years while her husband worked for Foremost Dairies. While allowing their parents to work, Mama Sug helped shape the lives of many young people in our area over the years. In 1982, they moved back to Bernice, to “The Farm”, which was next door to her best friend, Lola Golden. In addition to keeping kids, she worked at Bernice Nursing & Rehab for a short time in the kitchen and those were the only two jobs she ever held.

Throughout the years, Mama Sug took exceptional care of her family, often visiting them in their homes, dropping by for a visit and even doing their laundry and dishes for them. She did it because she loved them and wanted nothing in return except to be loved back. Although not officially a nurse, she was indeed the nurse of her family and was always there if someone was sick, grieving a lost loved one, or having a baby. She sat many days and nights beside family members so they wouldn’t be alone when they were down.

For many years, Mama Sug held three celebrations at her home: Mother’s Day, her birthday, and Thanksgiving. She thrived on hosting gatherings and for many years the guest list was nearly one-hundred people long. Not only did she host the party, but for many years she cooked much of the food herself. Each year she made her famous icebox fruitcake for the holidays and this year was no different. After 69 years of this tradition, she had the recipe memorized. She passed just two days after spending one final Thanksgiving with her family at ‘The Farm’.

Despite her struggle with COPD, Mama Sug remained quite healthy and independent until recent months. She continued to drive herself and mow her own grass until she was 91 years old. She took great pride in mowing her yard. In 2006, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. At age 75, this was the first time she had ever received an IV. Mama Sug was tough and had a high tolerance for pain and never complained about her health. She celebrated being a breast cancer survivor and being cancer-free for the remainder of her life, encouraging everyone to get checked early and often.

After gaining 15 grandchildren, she acquired the nickname “Mean Ol’ Mama Sug” as she was not afraid to give discipline when it was due. She embraced the nickname and wore it proudly for the rest of her time. She raised her kids and grandkids to be tough but to love others just as she set the example.

Each year for Christmas, Mama Sug gave each family member a towel. She chose the color, measured, and picked each one out. She then wrapped each one especially for you in a Walmart sack, her signature gift wrap. This was one of the highlights of Christmas for many years and cherished by all her family.

Mama Sug always had a place for everyone at her table and in her heart. While she was a very small woman, her heart was much larger than her body. Mama Sug will be forever remembered as an excellent role model, who showed everyone how to love their family and friends. She was the glue that held our family together.

The family would like to thank Mt. Sterling Church, Elara Caring Hospice, nurses Taylor and Destiny, and CNA Breonna for their compassion and care extended to Mama Sug.

Visitation was held from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at Farrar Funeral Home Chapel.

The family requests no real flowers for the service. Monetary memorials may be made in Mama Sug’s name to: Mt. Patrick Cemetery Fund, 11778 Hwy 2, Bernice, LA 71222.

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