Mary Lancaster

Mary Whiteside Lancaster passed away on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Mary was born on February 19, 1930 in Teague, Texas to Mattie Ora and Talmage Whiteside. She was raised in Normangee, Texas. Mary attended Baylor University and graduated in 1951 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Bible. Mary moved to Bryan, Texas where she was the Director of the Bryan/College Station Girl Scout Council and served in that capacity for two years. Mary and Bill Lancaster met on a blind date in 1952 and were married in January, 1953. Mary and Bill raised their three children, Laura, Nancy, and Brad, in College Station, Texas.

Mary’s passion was in serving others in many different ways. She taught kindergarten in their home, taught piano lessons, and, with Bill, ran a boarding house in their home for 40 years. Ma and Pa were surrogate parents and grandparents to countless Aggies who lived in their rental property, ate their meals, or came to visit residents and family during their time in Aggieland. As the ultimate hostess, she radiated hospitality and was ever gracious even when the unexpected guest dropped by to reminisce about the good ole days. Because she and Pa lived in the Lancaster family home, the extended Lancaster family celebrated many holidays at her table before or after football games. As members of First Baptist Church, College Station for nearly 60 years, Mary held a variety of roles included Sunday School teacher, youth leader, Wednesday night supper organizer, church secretary, and served as church pianist for over 30 years.

An avid needlework enthusiast, Mary ran the Spinning Wheel knit shop in Bryan in the mid 1960’s and was gifted with needlework of all kinds. She could see a dress on a mannequin in a store window and make a copy by hand. She made quilts, she knitted and crocheted, and never seemed to be without a project – often for charity. She loved history, researching the family’s genealogy, and world travel. She will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, friend and “Ma” to many.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Mattie Ora and Talmage Whiteside. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, William B. Lancaster, children Laura Lancaster Arth of College Station, Nancy Lancaster Smith (Ted Smith) of Wichita Falls, Brad Lancaster (Karen Lancaster) of Austin, Texas, grandchildren Ted Smith III, Stacey Smith, Amy Smith Berry (Blayne Berry), Ann Carolyn Arth Williams (Ben Williams), Julia Lancaster, Will Lancaster II, and great-grandchildren Reid Williams, Davis Williams, Jude Berry and Everett Berry.

Services to celebrate Mary’s life will be held on Thursday, October 1, 2015. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 pm at the College Station Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of College Station. Immediately following, all are invited to a visitation with the family in the fellowship hall. Memorials can be made to programs supporting Alzheimer’s/dementia research and prevention, Hospice Brazos Valley, or First Baptist Church College Station.

For more information contact [wpseo_address show_state=”1″ show_country=”1″ show_phone=”1″ show_phone_2=”0″ show_fax=”1″ show_email=”1″]


  1. I would like to offer condolences, prayers, and love to the entire Lancaster family from their friends the Bassetts. As many of you know, we could share MANY stories due to our proximity, almost sharing an address (303 Dexter vs. 303 West Dexter) that many times made for very interesting mishaps, and just knowing each other very well over the years.
    We may not see much of each other these days, but that doesn’t mean your family is far from our thoughts at times like this. I know you will celebrate the life of a wonderful lady, and we know that one day we will all see each other under much more wonderful circumstances.

  2. Dear Pa, Laura, Nancy and Brad,
    I was so sorry to learn of Ma’s passing. She was one of the nicest people I have ever known and am so thankful that I was blessed by having her in my life. Pa, I will never forget the years I lived in the Brick House. I was there from July of 1977 to December of 1981. I never even thought about moving into a dorm after I experienced your warm hospitality. My parents, Henry and Wanda Townsend, (and who are both gone now) had a hard time letting me go to school so far from home. But they felt very good about my being able to live in such a wonderful environment with you and Ma.

    I know you will all miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Colleen Townsend, Class of 1981

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I understand how difficult this journey has been for you and appreciate the many times we have shared experiences. Mary’s life was a blessing to all who crossed her path and I know she is now singing with the angels. Please know that as you enter this new journey in your life that I am always here to listen and pray for your peace and strength. May God grant you a PEACE beyond your understanding.

  4. Our sympathy is lovingly being sent the to the Lancaster, Smith and Arth families. Although we did not know “Ma” for very long, we are able to see her loving, caring Christian influence on her daughter, Nancy, as well as Nancy’s husband, Ted. She also instilled in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren strong family ties We know she will be missed dearly by all of her loving family, but we know she is now in a better place free from her terrible affliction. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  5. To the Lancaster Family,

    We love you and we will always remember Ma as a wonderful friend, loving support person and most of all family to us. We extend our sympathy to you and your families, you are in our prayers during this difficult time. We shall remember Ma with love in our heart.

    Richard and Mary Huey

  6. Dear Lancaster Family,

    Words cannot begin to express my sadness at this news. Ma made such a huge difference in so many people’s lives, including mine and my daughter’s. She was a true “kindred” spirit, a second mother to so many of us and gave every person, every project, every job she was involved with 100% of her time and effort. My prayers will be with the family and especially dear Pa. It is so wonderful to know that Ma is with her Savior, in perfect health, at perfect peace. I loved her so much and will rejoice when I see her again. She leaves a legacy of grace and hospitality that can never be fully matched.
    Miriam Wilson Whitsitt

  7. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill Lancaster and all the Lancaster family. We have no doubt that Mrs. Mary, or “Ma,” as she was known to many, is in a perfect body and in the presence of Jesus. Ma Lancaster was our daughter, Katie’s, away from home “mom” and provided that reassurance to my husband and me that someone was there for Katie if she needed her. They had more than a boarding house to so many students…it was a ministry, for which we know many are grateful. We were incredibly blessed by both of them, but especially by Ma who had the greatest repertoire of stories we always enjoyed listening to and was one of the best encouragers. I know she will be greatly missed and leaves a great legacy behind. We know without a doubt that Mary Lancaster is hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
    Bob and Belinda Ellis (parents of Katie Ellis Alaniz, class of 2003)

  8. What a beautiful testimony Mary’s life and witness is to the name of Jesus. This precious couple housed two of my Aggies. (Matt Collins, (Molly Collins) This momma is grateful to this precious couple for their tireless hospitality and faithfulness to Christ. Enjoy the rest that you have so faithfully earned, Ma Lancaster. Jesus is pleased, I’m sure.
    Cheryl and Doug Collins
    Pearland, TX

  9. Pa,

    My prayers and sympathies are with you and your family through this time, as you cherish the memories and celebrate the life of Ma, one of the most precious people I have ever had the privilege and honor of knowing.

    You and Ma played such a tremendous role in making my time at Aggieland four of the most memorable and special years of my young adulthood. The gift of living in the “Pink House” at Lancaster place was one of the greatest blessings God provided throughout my time as an Aggie, in that I was able to build community with other Christians, meet some of my very best friends, live in a godly environment, and learn from the example that you and Ma lived out of humble worship and adoration of Christ through service to others.

    I knew that I could drop in and visit you at any time with any need and always feel welcome and cared for. You two reflected the love of Jesus in your marriage, in your interactions with your neighbors, and in the way you loved and cherished each and every Aggie who lived at Lancaster Place. When I think of Aggieland and how special and impactful my time there was, I often think of you two.

    Thank you for just being you – the wonderful, hospitable, hard-working, kind-hearted couple who spread the light and love of Jesus to more college students than you will ever realize. I know that without a doubt, Ma was greeted by the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” as she was embraced by her loving Savior. You two have built a legacy that will last for eternity!

    With love and gratitude,

    Katie Ellis Alaniz, Class of ’03

  10. Dear Bill and Family,

    We are so sorry for your great loss of your wife and mother/grandmother. We so enjoyed the few times we had together when we were visiting our daughter, Susan, at the pink house, and then behind your home in the little apartment. Thank you so much for all of your kindnesses. Your wife, Bill, was so sweet and genuine. May our Lord Father bless you with His abundant grace and peace at this difficult time.

    Tricia and Tom Ehman (Houston, TX)


Due to the construction on S College Ave our facility is only accessible via Dellwood St. Please refer to this map for reference. Dellwood St can be accessed via Cavitt Ave and Texas Ave.

For more information, please visit the Bryan, TX website.