July 14, 1952 ~ August 2, 2020

Born in: Olney, Texas
Resided in: Bryan, Texas

Mary Elizabeth Pirtle Walraven of Bryan, a longtime leader in educating parents and coordinating community programs to meet local needs, died August 2, 2020, at the age of 68 after a brief illness. Visitation will be at 10 am, followed by her Life Tribute Celebration at 11 am, Thursday, August 6, 2020, at Callaway-Jones Funeral Center; with family burial services in Bryan City Cemetery. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers, Bryan-College Station.

The service can be viewed by Live Stream on the Callaway-Jones Fueral Home Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/callawayjones/live

Born July 14, 1952, in Olney, Texas, she was the oldest daughter of R.C. Pirtle Jr. and Mavis Elizabeth Gaither Pirtle of Throckmorton, an agricultural town in North Texas. She was married there Jan. 6, 1973, to Ed Walraven of San Angelo, Texas. Their wedding achieved local fame when a North Texas ice storm during the wedding made it impossible for many family and friends to leave town for almost a week.

Since retiring from Bryan schools in 2016, she has enjoyed many playdates with grandsons and was happy to return to travel, often with tent camping and hiking as an added joy. A favorite part of the camping was early morning and sunset “critter” searches. Such trips also allowed her to practice her other pleasures: photography, sketching and painting. The freedom of retirement had the advantage of letting her concentrate on numerous handicrafts.

She moved to Bryan in 1974 with her husband from San Angelo and began working for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Walraven worked with the extension service for 10 years until becoming a health and childbirth educator, teaching childbirth and parenting classes at local hospitals and women’s centers, and holding national positions with the International Childbirth Education Association.

Walraven graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1977, and later earned designation as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker. Her interest in social work was reflected on many fronts, especially as supervisor of Special Programs for Bryan Independent School District. Her efforts at guiding programs for parents as teachers, needs for homeless pupils and families, Volunteers in Public Schools and assisting with food bank efforts for students led to numerous awards: the Texas Association of School Board’s Outstanding Parent Program, the TEA’s Parent Involvement Award, and Bryan ISD’s “Heart of the District Award.” She was also named an Outstanding Young Woman in America in both 1985 and 1986. The Junior League’s Stuff the Bus program and the Food Bank’s “Food for Families” also benefitted from her coordination efforts.

Walraven has served on the boards of the Brazos Valley Food Bank, the United Way of the Brazos Valley, the Community Partnership Board, the Prenatal Clinic and the Liberal Arts Alumni Council. Most recently she was a facilitator for the Joint Relief Review Committee.

Besides her husband, Mary Walraven is survived by three sons: Joseph A. Walraven and April Loveless Walraven (sons Eli, Hunter and Kyle Walraven); Wesley E. Walraven and Crystal Coburn Walraven (sons Logan and Luke Walraven), all of College Station, and W. Sean Walraven of San Antonio; a sister, Ruth Ann Pirtle Black and husband John F. Black, both of Houston; two nieces: Jennifer E. Black of Houston and Sarah Black Langston and husband Brandon Langston, both of Magnolia; an aunt, Dana Ruth Pirtle Cherry of Midland; a nephew, Andrew Pirtle of Throckmorton; and cousins Carey Pirtle (Danny) Head of Ponca City, Okla., Susan Pirtle Linderer of Yukon, Okla., Mark Cherry of Midland, and Debra Pirtle of Texas City.

She was preceded in death by an infant son, Benjamin Candler Walraven of Bryan; her parents of Throckmorton; and her brother, William Mack Pirtle of Throckmorton.
The family requests memorials be made in her name to the Brazos Valley Food Bank or other favorite charity, the American Diabetes Association or American Heart Association.

Celebration of Life for Mary Walraven

Please join us LIVE at 11 am to Celebrate the Life of Mary Walraven. You may leave messages of comfort for the family in the comments.❤️

Posted by Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory on Thursday, August 6, 2020


Visitation: August 6, 2020 10:00 am

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801


Room: Bluebonnet Chapel
Celebration of Life Tribute: August 6, 2020 11:00 am

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801


Room: Bluebonnet Chapel
Room: Private

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  1. Eddie, Joe, Wes, Sean & family,
    I’m so saddened to learn of the death of your beautiful Mary. Her warmth, humor, expertise, & pure goodness will be long cherished along with memories of that ‘73 Pirtle-Walraven wedding!
    May God Bless & Comfort each of you as you grieve her loss. You willl be in my thoughts & prayers, Sweet Walraven Family
    With love & deepest sympathy, Sue

  2. Dear Walraven family,

    I remember fondly the families days at Crockett Elementary. Mary always had a smile on her face. Such a sweet giving lady. She was a blessing to all who knew her. Prayers for strength and love for Ed and the family.

    Betty Rabe

  3. Ed, Joe, Wes and Sean,
    I will be praying for all of you. Mary was always smiling. She was always so supportive of me all those years ago at Crockett. She has touched many lives.
    I know all will remember her with a smile on their face.

  4. Please accept our sincerest condolences on the loss of Mary Walraven. I remember meeting her during parenting events at Branch Elementary, and then working together within Bryan ISD. She always had a heart of gold and wanted what was best for others. She certainly blessed this community. Rest In Peace.

  5. I was so shocked and saddened to read of Mary’s passing. She was such an encouragement to me and so many couples in the Brazos Valley with her incredible knowledge and compassion for childbirth education. And yes, as others have written, she was always smiling and laughing. Our community is less rich with her absence. I will be praying for the whole family.

  6. Ed, and Family,
    I have known Mary for over twenty years and she never failed to inspire me with her astute observation of life, her wit, her caring ways and most of all the love she had for her family. Whatever work she was doing, however she volunteered her time you always heard about what was going on with the family. She loved you so and we all loved her. Thank you for sharing Mary with us all of these years. Our heart felt prayers are with you.
    Alsie Bond

  7. Mary meant so much to me. When I had my first child in 1991, she visited us in my home as an extension agent and taught me enrichment activities. Visits with Mary were always informative, and she was responsible for many fun times with my daughter over the next few years–notably playing with shaving cream and bird seed and just having lots of laughs. She eased my new mother fears and was a great source of comfort. My heart goes out to Ed and her family.

  8. Ed and family: I was saddened to hear of Mary’s passing. I got to know her when we were both employed at BISD. She did so much to further parent/child education not only in Bryan but throughout the Brazos Valley. We eventually realized that we had met first in Big Spring when mutual friends of ours got married (Caren & Paul). Such a small world! Mary was a tremendous help to so may families. She will be missed. May you all who loved Mary find comfort in your memories. Sharon Lippke

  9. Ed and Sean and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mary. She was an excellent educator.
    My thoughts and prayers are with your family. God bless you all.

  10. Ed and family–I’m so very sorry for your loss. Mary was such a gentle, wise, compassionate spirit and influence in our schools. The peace of the Lord be with you.

  11. Ed, Joe, Wes and Sean. My heart breaks to hear the passing of Mary. I have a lot of fond memories of her. She was my childbirth instructor and I remember her coming to the office just to say hello. She always had that beautiful smile on her face. I will truly miss her.

  12. Mary Elizabeth was a beautiful soul. Always kind and loving. My heart goes out to Eddie and the boys. She will be missed.

  13. I babysat the boys way back when. My aunt Jane Mills Smith introduced us. She was so nice and easy to talk to. Such a sweet family. The boys and I would stay up late and eat pizza! This is so sad. I am sure though that she and Jane are having a get together. So sorry for your loss.

  14. I feel very privileged to have had Mary in my life, and will miss her dearly. Mary was instrumental in getting The Prenatal Clinic started and as the first Health Educator at the clinic helped the clinic become a success. Even after leaving the clinic she helped train future Childbirth Educators and served on the clinic’s Board. Mary was an “unsung hero” working for many causes. Our community will miss her.

  15. While it has been 20+ years since I worked with Mary in Bryan ISD, I still remember her love for helping BISD kids and parents. She was a special lady!

  16. Sean and family,

    I am very sorry for your loss. Knowing Sean, I can only imagine how sweet and kind his mother was. My thoughts and prayers for you all during this hard time.

    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
    – Matthew 5:4

  17. Aunt Mary, I miss you so much. I am gonna miss our early morning Talks on Facebook when I have trouble sleeping, like i always do,. I woke up early this morning because I of course always wake up early just like you did, I got on Facebook and all I thought about was how I wanted to talk to you. I looked at my Facebook notifications expecting to see a comment or something from you but nothing was there….. You passed way too soon just like my dad did. I wish I could have seen you or talked to you. You were always there even when I was a child. When dad was sick, you and Uncle Eddie were the ones that would make me go do something or would take me out to eat and make me eat lol, since eating was pretty much the last thing on my mind at the time. I love you Aunt Mary and will see you again. Tell Mee-Maw, Pee-Paw and dad that we all said hi and that we love them. —-Love you

  18. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Your friends and family are here for you.

  19. My dear Walraven family. I am so very very sad that such an amazing person no longer with us. There are so many memories I will always cherish and thank God for all of them. Mary taught me so much during the time we worked together side by side for so many years. We even retired together! I am grateful to have met all her amazing family. I’ve never known a more caring and giving person in my entire life. She was so full of life. Ed , Ruthie, John and all Mary’s children and grand children, I love you all so much. God Bless you all with peace. Love Joanne.

  20. So very sorry to hear about your loss. May she Rest In Peace.
    Her smile and cheerfulness truly expressed the kind of person she was.

  21. Mary was a gift to all who knew her over the decades. I still live in the house where she came to sit on the floor to help us become better parents. I used to think I was busy until I heard all the things Mary was juggling on a day to day basis. I was so glad to see her numerous postings on Facebook after she retired of those camping trips. My heart goes out to Ed, their sons, and the grandkids. God bless you all.

  22. Mary had a beautiful soul and encouraged others to be their best self. She always approached life in a positive
    way. She used her humor and infectious laugh to
    show her giving spirit to all.
    Her efforts with teachers to
    assist us in building strong relationships with the parents and families of our students were greatly appreciated. Her smile left you feeling “ten feet tall.”
    She was a special lady. RIP.

  23. Ed,
    I am so sad for you, your family, and all of us who were lucky enough to know Mary. She was and will always be one of the most treasured friendships I will ever have. From working with her at Ag Ext through the birth of our kids including comforting me during the shared experience of losing a baby……she anchored a special place in my heart. When I read the FB posts that let me know she was gone, I just kept re-reading because it just couldn’t be true and, as cliche as it may sound, I truly felt a disturbance in the force.

    Memories of Mary….. running to her desk a few times a day to get a break from “the boys” and to see her sweet smile; going through my first pregnancy with her by my side and being there during one of hers (Wesley), dinner at your house and getting a serving of her homemade pickles!!, dancing at the SPJST hall, hearing her encouraging voice when we said goodbye to our baby much too soon……many more that bring smiles.

    Lots of years have past since we lived close enough to make new memories with the Walravens, but Mary and I always reached out a couple times a year to say hello and I would jealously pour over her pictures of your Fort Davis trips and other adventures. I know your family will surround you and lift you during this time, but be assured that there will be many of us lifting you up in prayer and good thoughts in the days ahead!

    I can imagine she’s telling you to hug those grand-babies for her and that she’ll be waiting for you, but take your time.

  24. I first met Mary 24 years ago when she was a parent educator. She gave brown bag lunch talks at my son’s school. She taught me how to be a better parent and a better person. As a newly single parent of a one and five year old, she reassured me that I could and would be able to make it on my own. With a smile that lit up the room and a wit to match, she was such a bright light in a dark time, not only for me but for everyone she came in contact with. To Ed and your family, thank you for sharing your special Mary with the rest of us.

  25. Ed,
    I am deeply saddened by Mary’s passing. Mary meant so much to us as our parent educator when we were new parents decades ago. She will never know how truly helpful she was. I will cherish the memory of her big beautiful smile and reassuring hugs.

  26. Ed & Family,
    Mary was an excellent Extension educator & a true community leader in parenting & prenatal education & care. Keep all the best memories of her sparkling personality close as you journey forth without her person at your side. She lives on in those Lives she touched!

  27. My thoughts and prayers are with the family today and in the weeks ahead. It was a pleasure to know Mary for more than 20 years and be able to volunteer beside her. To see her smiling and hear her laughter always made you feel so welcomed. With heartfelt sympathy-

  28. Mercy, I just learned today. Ditto to everything everyone said above. Mary was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. My heart cries out to Eddie and his sons. My deepest sympathy.

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