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 Mary George Beggs

Mary George Beggs

Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Death 13 May 2008 (aged 74)
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Plot Section 19
Memorial ID 111818514 · View Source
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Known for her poof of white hair, her ever-present cigarette and the manners of a Southern lady, Mary George Beggs operated grandly and generously as the doyenne of society reporters in Memphis. She came to The Commercial Appeal, the only newspaper for which she ever worked, in 1955 and retired in 1995.

Miss Beggs died Tuesday at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis of respiratory failure. She was 74.

She started on the newspaper's society page recording her impressions of parties and the people who attended them, and continued to do so until she retired. In an interview in The Commercial Appeal in December 1995, Miss Beggs estimated that she had covered at least 6,000 parties during her career.

"I think the newspaper records history," she told her interviewer, "and the kinds of stories I wrote helped chronicle the lives of people in this area from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s, their leisure and charitable and community lives, how they entertained, how they lived and furnished their homes, how they dressed."

A native Memphian, Miss Beggs graduated from Central High School in 1951 and Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) in 1955. After working for a week at the old Helen of Memphis shop, she took the newspaper job. She returned to retail after retiring, working three days a week as a sales associate at the Gift and Art Shop on Poplar.

"We've lost a real friend," said artist and art director Charles Chandler. "Lord have mercy, I believe it was in 1957 that we met. We had some awfully wonderful times together. I escorted her to many of the parties she covered ... Those were the good old days."

"I loved going out to dinner with her," said her sister, Martha Beggs Orth of Falls Church, Va. "So many people knew her and wanted to talk to her that we could hardly eat. She was so much fun, a lovely sister."

Miss Beggs leaves another sister, Rev. Lily Anne Rein of Decatur, Ga.

Mary Alice Quinn, the newspaper's former assistant managing editor for features, described her colleague as "meticulous" in her writing. "And she prided herself on accuracy and The Commercial Appeal style."

Angus McEachran knew Miss Beggs at the beginning of his career as a cub reporter and later as The CA's editor and publisher.

"She was a stickler for accuracy," McEachran said. "She was a fountain of information about all aspects of the city. She knew everybody in town."

Miss Beggs was a lifelong member of Evergreen Presbyterian Church, where she was an elder and trustee, and a founding member of The Salvation Army Greater Memphis Women's Auxiliary, serving on the organization's board. She also sat on the boards of Le Bonheur Club and the English Speaking Union.

Funeral services will be held Friday at Evergreen Presbyterian Church with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. Interment will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery. The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial gifts be made to Rhodes College, the Salvation Army, Evergreen Presbyterian Church or a charity of the donor's choice.

Provided by DeAnna Cooley

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  • Created by: Neil Loftiss
  • Added: 5 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 111818514
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary George Beggs (28 Dec 1933–13 May 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 111818514, citing Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Neil Loftiss (contributor 47136115) .