Mary Ellen Tyler, affectionately known as Mae, was born on May 1, 1931, to the late Jeff Bratton and Decie Young in Gregory, Arkansas. She was the eldest of seven children. Mary accepted Christ and was baptized at an early age at St. Paul Methodist Church in Gregory, Arkansas. She received her formal education in Augusta, Arkansas. In high school, Mary discovered her love for sewing, public speaking and sports. She was active in her speech class where she won first place in the speech contest. Furthermore, she entered a sewing contest in school and won first place for making a dress. She was also a phenomenal basketball player.
In the mid 1940’s, Mary caught the eye of a handsome young man, Otis Jones, Sr. while walking pass his house on the way to school. In 1949, Mary and Otis Sr. married and later had six beautiful children, Sylvester (Shag), Otis Jr. (Junior), Jerry, Mary Ann (Boosie), Marcus (Butch) and Tracy.
In 1959, Mary and Otis Sr. moved the family from Little Rock, Arkansas to San Diego, California and settled in Southeast San Diego. Once in San Diego, Mary started working at the Ratner Manufacturing Company where she made men suites. This job helped to fuel her passion of sewing which enabled her to create her own clothing line later in life. While in San Diego, she continued to serve the Lord throughout her life. Mary became a member of Bethel A.M.E Church where she worshipped for 58 years. She was a faithful servant of God. She was an active, dedicated, committed and loyal member serving on various church committees.
Mary had a love for people especially children and cooking. In the 1960’s, she started working at the St. Stephen’s Boys Home under Bishop George McKinney. She worked there for 14 years where she supported the youth as a case manager, a mentor, and a crisis supporter. While employed at the Boys Home and because of her love for children, Mary decided to become a respite care provider and later became a foster parent serving as a grandmother to many children for over 25 years. Everyone knew that her house was the best place to be especially for her cooking or playing cards. She was an amazing cook. If you were hungry and needed a meal all you had to do is go to her house to eat. Everything she cooked made you feel like you always had a piece of her with you because she put her heart and soul into it. Her specialties were Turkey and Dressing, Giblet Gravy, Peach Cobbler, Cakes, Rice Pudding and Collard Greens. She was an avid Bid Whist and Spades player. She hosted the best card parties and love shopping at the Swap Meet and Amvet every weekend.
On December 28, 2017, Mary was called home to be with the Lord. She fought the good fight; finished her course; she kept the faith to the very end. She is preceded in death by her husband, Otis Jones, Sr., her parents, Jeff Bratton and Decie Young, and sisters, Lillie Young, Marlene Bratton and Darlene Bratton.
Mary leaves to cherish her memory her beloved children: four sons, Sylvester Tyler (Shonda), Otis Jones Jr., Jerry Jones (Sheila), Marcus Jones (Angela); two daughters, Mary Ann Sharp (Winston) and Tracy Jones; three sisters, Jewel Nevels, Doris Mills (AC) and Juanita Johnson; one brother, Hurbert Mays; fourteen grandchildren, Tiffany Alforque, Lanesha Lewis (George), Vashon Jones, Darcel Sharp (Connita), LaShae Collins (Ian), Derric Sharp, Rashad Tyler, Janai Bell (Michael), Devon Jones, LaToya Finnerson, Adrianna Jones, Antoine Rozar, Gayle Jones and Brianna Jones; twenty great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.