Born May 31, 1935 in the Avera community of Greene County, MS, Mary Nell (Slay) Box, 85, died at her home in the Winborn Chapel community of Greene County on December 21, 2020. Her family surrounded her as she passed from her earthly life to her eternal reward in the Heavens where she heard her Savior say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” She died in the home she made – she didn’t build the house– but she made it a home in the truest sense of the word. It was altogether fitting that God called her from the Godly home she created to the heavenly home God created for her. She was a long time, dedicated member of Winborn Chapel United Methodist Church where her remains will be laid to rest in the Winborn Chapel cemetery.
She is survived by her three adoring sons, Dale (Diane) Box of Leakesville, Danny Box, and Dean (Paula) Box both residents of the Winborn Chapel community. She was blessed with four loving grandchildren, Jason (Kara) Box of Spanish Fort AL, Lauren Box (Chase) Taylor of Laurel, MS, Lindsey Box (Clark) Rounsaville of Leakesville, MS, and Gracie Box of Winborn Chapel community. She was very grateful to live to see the birth of four great grandsons born in the past two years, Kyler Hayes Box, Kye BrentleyTaylor, and the twins Kipton Judge and Rowen Oscar Rounsaville. She leaves behind two sisters, Anna Merle (Bill) Anderson, Hilda (Butch) Rouse along with one brother, Stanley (Elnora) Slay, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
Mary Nell was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Judge Norris Box, and it is by his side that her remains will be laid. Her parents, Bernise and Mary Evelyn (Ball) Slay also preceded her in death along with three brothers, James Charles Slay, Russell Slay, and Tommy Slay, and two sisters, Doris Jean Faurot and Florence May Davis, along with an unnamed baby brother.
After moving from Avera in Greene County to George County when Mary Nell was a small child, her family lived in several different locations mostly in the Basin community as her parents toiled in the raising of their large family. Mary Nell was the sixth of nine siblings that lived until adulthood. They formed a tight-knit family dealing with depression era hardships. In the midst of that, Mary Nell excelled in school, and she was honored to earn the title of valedictorian of her graduating class at Basin High School in 1952.
Tragedy struck her family on July 13, 1944 when the oldest sibling James Charles (JC) Slay was killed in battle in New Guinea during World War II. The Slay family, as a testament to their devotion, has always looked toward their older brother as the family hero who sacrificed all in defense of freedom and liberty, and his brothers and sisters worked to keep his memory alive. Mary Nell, though not an emotional lady, almost always shed a tear at the playing of “Taps” as she thought of her brother.
Mary Nell showed special love for her three younger siblings and tried to make special events in their lives truly special. She gladly made sacrifices in order to show them how deeply she loved them. As a young lady, she made the sacrifice for those you love the foundation upon which she would build her life.
On January 17, 1959, Mary Nell married Judge Norris Box her love and partner for life. After living for a short period in Mobile, AL where Mary Nell worked jobs outside the home, Norris and Mary Nell built a house and moved to the Winborn Chapel community where they started a family together when she gave birth to her first son in 1962. Two more sons followed in 1963 and 1969. With the birth of her first son, Mary Nell never again worked outside the home. She stayed home with “her boys” and sacrificed the opportunity to provide materially to instead provide those things money cannot buy.
Mary Nell’s home had that “old” home feel. It always felt warm and carried an aroma left by good food! She cooked the meals for her family, and they were delicious. She kept a cake or pie baked and ready to be served after the meal. Her home was not fancy, but it was welcoming. It was a place that made you feel comfortable.
Mary Nell taught her sons the most valuable lessons in life – put your trust in God, understand what has true value, and why it is admirable to sacrifice for those you love. She built her home upon the tenets of the Holy Bible, and it was through her devotion to God and her Christian faith that her home withstood the trials and tribulations inevitable in life. An avid reader, her Bible was the most important part of her daily reading. She read it every day. She read the Bible cover-to-cover many times over.
She prayed faithfully. It was not uncommon to hear her early in the morning in earnest prayer. She lifted her concerns to her God, and it was a powerful influence to hear your name called out in her prayer. Her manner of devotion to God influenced her family tremendously, but that influence extended beyond her immediate family. Over the years, many people have returned to confide in her that she influenced them for the good. As she aged, she could be heard in communication with God while doing her daily chores and activities. As the Bible instructs, she prayed without ceasing.
Mary Nell did not travel often but she did go to Washington D.C. and Yellowstone National Park, as well as other more local attractions. She spent most of her days in the home she built. She was the rock – the foundation – of her family, and they will miss her completely. However, they will find solace in knowing Mary Nell has received her heavenly crown and has met face-to-face the One she has prayed to for all these years. Amen!
The Graveside Service for Ms. Mary Box will be Sunday, December 27, 2020 beginning at 2:00 PM at Winborn Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery with Bro. Jim Hall officiating. Pallbearers include Dale Box, Danny Box, Dean Box, Jason Box, Chase Taylor, Clark Rounsaville and Walker Byrd. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Winborn Chapel UMC Mission Fund, Gideons or your personal favorite charity.
Moments Funeral Home, locally owned and operated in Lucedale, Mississippi, is honored to be in charge of arrangements.
To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral store.