Mary Sue Pylant Tettleton

Published 12:20 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023

Mary Sue Pylant Tettleton, a longtime resident of Oxford, MS, died peacefully at her home in Nashville, TN on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The funeral service will be Friday, May 5, 2023, at 2:30 P.M. at the Oxford-University United Methodist Church with Rev. Chris McAlilly officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service beginning at 1:00 P.M. in the atrium of the church. A private graveside service will take place in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Sue entered this world on December 15, 1932, in Coushatta, LA to William (Willie) Clarence and Winnie Rebecca Rainey Pylant and started a full, fun-filled, adventurous life. She grew up in Coushatta with her brother, Billy, graduating from Coushatta High School. After high school, Mary Sue had too much fun at Mary Hardin Baylor College before buckling down to earn a B. S. degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Louisiana Polytechnic University (LSU). She found the perfect degree that allowed her to combine her love of food, friends, travel, entertaining, and service. After an internship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, MO, becoming a registered dietitian and joining the American Dietetic Association, Sue began her career as an instructor in the Home Economics Department and Manager of college food service at Northeast Louisiana State College, Monroe, LA. It was in Monroe that she met her husband of 58 years (at the time of his death in 2013), Bob Tettleton. After a ridiculously brief, whirlwind romance, they were married on Thanksgiving Day 1955. Sue then advanced in her career at the Veterans Administration in Shreveport, LA as the Assistant Chief, Dietetics Service. After five years at the VA, Bob and Sue moved to Gainesville, Florida for Bob to accept a position at the University of Florida. While in Florida, Sue continued to hone her skills as a master host of dinner parties, while raising her growing family. In 1965, Bob accepted a new position at the University of Mississippi and Sue resumed her teaching career at the University; one that spanned 16 years. During this time, Sue taught classes, developed training materials for a statewide nutrition education program, coordinated the School Food Service Managers Institute, and served as President of the Mississippi Dietetics Association. Sue regularly attended annual meetings of the American Dietetic Association, went to three gatherings of the International Dietetic Association and one American Food Service Association convention. She presented papers at the state, national, and international level including in San Paulo, Brazil. After leaving the University, Sue accepted a position at North Mississippi Regional Center (NMRC) serving as Director of Dietary Services from 1982-1995. It was at NMRC, where her expertise in dietetics, school nutrition, and her compassion for the clients intersected to provide her with an opportunity to use her formidable skills with a very special community until her retirement in 1995. She was honored as a 50-Year Registered Dietitian and a 50-Year member of the American Dietetic Association at their national gathering in Nashville. Sue made an indelible impression on her students, fellow faculty members, association colleagues and her community. Her desire to shower culinary hospitality on all those around her, her effervescent spirit and unmistakable laugh, combined with a fervent spirit of service, made Mary Sue a fixture in Oxford, at the University of Mississippi, at Cedar Oaks where she served on the board, and at her church. Sue has been a member of the Oxford-University United Methodist Church since 1965 and served her church in many capacities including as a member of the Double Circle Sunday School class, the Administration Board, and preparing for too many luncheons, wedding/baby showers, Christmas Parties, and other activities to count. Sue travelled across this country and across the world experiencing as much of life as she could hold. From Brazil to Europe, Russia to South Korea, Sue wringed every drop she could from every experience. She shared her husband’s love of art, and he shared her love of food. It was always a match made in heaven. She left this world on her terms and leaves behind a rich legacy for those who were fortunate enough to experience her joy. We should all be so blessed to live the life that Sue did.

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Sue is preceded in death by her husband, Bob, her mother, father and brother, as well as her granddaughter Rebekah Newell Tettleton.

She is survived by her three sons and daughters-in-law, Robert (Kerri) Tettleton of Oxford, Philip (Katherine) Tettleton, of Vero Beach, FL, and John (Anna) Tettleton of Nashville. She has 5 grandchildren: Elizabeth (Scott) Tettleton Mason and Rachel Tettleton of Oxford, Gray Tettleton of Whitefish, MT, Saylor Tettleton of Wiesbaden, Germany, and Maeve Tettleton of Nashville. Last but certainly not least, she is survived by her beloved chihuahua, Zoe of Nashville.

The family would like to thank the caregivers that allowed Sue to live out her days at home and Alive Hospice for the excellent transitional care. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oxford-University United Methodist Church, the Ole Miss Band Fund, Hope Lodge of Nashville (American Cancer Society), or the Ronald McDonald House.