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Mary Ann Helm Coker
March 26, 1938 ~ February 11, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old
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Mary Ann Helm Coker, age 85, passed away peacefully on February 11, 2024, surrounded by family.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John C.P. Helm and Sybil Folse Helm and her husband of 39 years, Edward W. Coker, Jr. She is survived by her three children, Mary Leigh Nabors (Burt), Natalie Smith (Mike) and Stanley Coker, along with eight grandchildren; Burton, Mary Claire, Ann Lee and Audrey Nabors; Max and Campbell Smith; Christian and Alex Coker.
She was also survived by her sisters-in-law, Jaime Freeman (Ray) and Joyce Wilkerson (Sammy) and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mary Ann was born in New Orleans and graduated from Ursuline Academy in 1956. After first attending Maryville University of St. Louis, she transferred to Loyola University, where she graduated with a B.S in Math. Mary Ann and Edward were married in 1962 and, after moving around the Southeast, the Coker family of five settled in Pascagoula in 1972, where she raised her children and was a dedicated Math teacher at Pascagoula High School for 20 years. After retiring, she became active in various community organizations including Singing River Hospital Auxiliary, Jackson County Retired Teachers Association serving as treasurer for many years. Mary Ann stayed involved in local politics and served as a poll worker. She also enjoyed participating in activities with the Pascagoula Senior Center including playing bridge and taking a number of group trips. Mary Ann was an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church but also celebrated Mass at Our Lady of Victories.
One of Mary Ann’s great passions was being a charter member of the “Who Dat Nation”, cheering on the New Orleans Saints. She loved all things New Orleans, including traditions, music and food.
She was also a college football fan, serving as an armchair quarterback, coach and cheerleader for any school attended by her husband, children and grandchildren.
When Mary Ann became “Nana” in 1992, her true light shined as she rarely missed ballet recitals, sporting events, school events, band trips, scout celebrations, sacraments, birthdays, graduations, family beach trips and holiday celebrations across three states. She also played hostess at her home for “Camp Nana” for her grandchildren with as many Gulf Coast field trips as she could create. The grandchildren remember roaming free in Pinecrest on scooters, skateboards and bikes, even barefoot, like her children did growing up, allowing them to have a true small-town experience.
Mary Ann was devout Roman Catholic, wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, niece, cousin and a true friend to many and will be sorely missed.
Family and friends are invited to attend visitation beginning at noon, rosary recitation at 12:45, followed by the sacrament of Christian burial Mass at 1:00 pm with a reception to follow. The services will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Pascagoula on Saturday, February 17, 2024.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB for brain cancer research, Sacred Heart Church or the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Her family wishes to send a heartfelt thank you to the staff and medical team at Singing River Hospital and Hospice of Light for their dedicated care during Mary Ann's final weeks. Her family also wishes to express thanks to God for her life, for your friendship, kindness and prayers.