Mary Lee Beasley was born in Thomasville, GA on June 8th in 1926. Her late parents, Arthur Lee Williams and Ethel Williams relocated to Oakland Park in 1930. Mary was a long-time resident of the Harlem Mc-Bride area in Oakland Park. Here she built a foundation for her future with her family and became a pillar of her community. Mary was involved with her community and devout member of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 420 NE 33rd Street in Oakland Park for many years.
Wife, Mother, Small Business Owner, and Community Leader
She married in 1945 to her late husband, James “Buck” Beasley for 47 years until his passing in 1992. During their marriage, Mary and her late husband James “Buck” started their own business named, Buck & Mary’s – Owl Nest, the location has since closed and was located at 3301 NE 3rd Ave. in Oakland Park. This neighborhood business was the spot where many members of the local community would gather to eat, drink, and have a good time. More than just a local business Mary and her late husband would always try to help those out in their community.
Mary was very involved in her community and she liked to challenge others to also get involved within their community. Her Pastor George Hardy, Mt. Zion AME church, recalls, “She was able to challenge you with love and direct respect, she would shower you with dignity and kind of made you want to do better and step up your game”. He continued to state that, “When she was given a task within the community she was skilled at getting folk (that would normally be left out) involved.”
Her Legacy Continues to Live on in her Community
On Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, just one day after her 94th birthday, Mary passed away. She is survived by her two remaining sons, Tracey Beasley and Stacey Beasley. She did have four other children who preceded her in death.
Many in her community mourn her loss. “Mother Beasley was a member of Mt. Zion for over 70 years. She served faithfully on the board stewardess but more than that she was a leader within and out of the church community,” says her Pastor. He reminisces that “the one phrase that I can still hear her say and we will hand it over to generations to come is that ‘we are in this together one people one community’.”
Mary’s son, Tracy Beasley, tells us that the words Mary lived by were: “Trust in the Lord” and “Stay strong and humble“. These are great words to live by and we hope that those in our surrounding communities can take a piece of this wisdom into their lives.
*LivingInOaklandPark.com is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.
About the Author
Maria Scudella-Beltran was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, right outside of New York City. She moved to South Florida in 2004 and graduated from Florida International University with a bachelors’ degree in Marketing and Communications.
In 2010, she purchased her first home in the North Andrews Gardens area in Oakland Park. After several years of working in the retail industry, Maria took on a part-time internship at a marketing agency and continued her education through Walden University where she earned her Master’s degree in Marketing and Communications.
Currently, she works in Marketing and during her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and traveling.