Mary Elizabeth (Nunley) Baugher died unexpectedly on Feb. 23, 2021. She will be grieved and missed by her family, loved ones and friends for the rest of their time. She will not be forgotten.
She was born in Orme, Tennessee, on Jan. 27, 1949, the youngest of six children, to Till and Beulah Nunley. When she was 11 years old, she left the mountain community in Tennessee to live in California with her older sister Petreva (Pat) Hargiss and her husband Gene Hargiss.
In 1974, while working at a Howard Johnson’s, Joseph Baugher made Mary breakfast for the first time. He was a line cook and she was a waitress. Of course, Joe wasted no time asking her out, and even though she said yes, she stood him up. Twice. Finally, on the third try, they went on their first date. This was at the beginning of March, it took them all the way to the end of the month to decide they were going to get married.
After saving enough money, they were married Sept. 21, 1974. The life they provided was full of love and hope, for not only each other, but their four kids who came along. They finally landed in Cody, in 1989. It was there that they took over the local Bonanza, which eventually became the Cattlemen’s Cut Restaurant.
Here, Mary was able to shine with her genuine spirit of love, sacrifice and kindness that she was most known for. Any kid who worked there knew there was a place to go and do homework with a cherry Coke, corn nuggets and a smile. There is an entire generation of adults from Cody who remember Mary for those times in that restaurant. There are even those who still think of her as a second mom, and some who still keep in touch.
Mary’s influence on the children of this community did not stop there. She also found a way to love and care for others by working for Park County School District #6, as both the Livingston School lunch lady and a bus driver. She made sure that every kid she had contact with felt special. She cheered them on, gave them treats and showed them genuine love. Even after she left the school district, she still cheered on the Blue and Gold (albeit from the warmth of the truck under the goal posts), and she never forgot her other kids.
The summers were spent with the Wyoming River Trips, driving eager adventure seekers to and from the river. She enjoyed taking pictures of the rafters, and even more so on the Northfork trip, but as much as she adored this area, she was often white knuckle clutching her bear spray and whistle, just in case.
She was always a hard worker, dedicated and reliable. Her work ethic was a marvel. In fact, the only thing she couldn’t seem to get the hang of was retirement.
Mary loved her family fiercely. Her husband Joe was her best friend, and they were rarely seen apart. In fact, throughout their time together, they were always together, even sharing many jobs and businesses with each other through the years. Her kids were her pride and her grandkids were her absolute joy.
Mary had the heart of a warrior, bent on service and love (especially in the form of fried tacos, taquitos and frosted sugar cookies). She was not the sensational hero who runs into danger, but more importantly, she was the slow, steady, faithful rock and strength. So many grew from her. She truly left her mark in the lives of many. She was tempestuous and kind; tough, but soft, funny and ever forgiving and understanding. She was the kind of love that will not end. She was simply more than this world.
Mary is survived by: her husband, best friend, and constant companion, Joe Baugher; her four children, Petreva (Dean) Hobbs, Charla (Joe) Torczon, Joshua (Callista) Baugher, and Samantha (Phil) Johnson; her sister and the woman who ultimately raised her, Petreva (Pat) Hargiss; her sisters, Ruth Kirk and Opal Haley; and 12 grandchildren, Christy, Jennifer, David, Derik, Alexi, Tayler, Kavan, Colby, Madison, William, Harper and Rylee. She is also survived by a wealth of great-grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, and all of her other kids.
Mary’s services will be on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at Ballard Funeral Home. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m., with the (casual) service beginning at 2 p.m., immediately followed with a brief graveside service. Condolences can be sent to Mary’s family on her memorial page at www.BallardFH.com.