Marie Davis Miller, 90, of Shelbyville Texas

Marie Davis Miller, 90, of Shelbyville Texas, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, December 7, 2020.

Marie was born in Shelbyville, Texas on August 9, 1930, to Lonnie Burl Davis and Carrie Luman Davis.  She graduated from Shelbyville High School as valedictorian of her class.  She married Fearnon Learease (F.L.) Miller on September 3, 1949.  F. L. and Marie then moved to Houston and worked for the telephone company.  After 2 years of trying to get rich in Houston, they moved back to Shelbyville where F. L. worked as a rural mail carrier, water plant operator, fishing guide and jack of all trades.  Marie saw an ad for a Census worker and signed up with her friend, Myrtle Yates.  That job eventually led to her and F.L.’s postal careers, as those were political appointments during that era.  Marie also worked for the tax office before finishing her career as the Shelbyville Postmaster.    

Growing up, Marie’s mother, Carrie, sold eggs and butter so Marie could have piano lessons.  Marie loved music and played for more than 70 years, playing for Doyle Boles and the Sunday Afternoon Singers and funerals, as well as being the pianist at Oakland Nazarene Church and then at Ephesus Baptist Church.

F. L. and Marie enjoyed playing 42 with their friends, and you could find them playing as often as they could.  Marie enjoyed traveling in her younger years, packing her bags to go on cruises, family trips and more.  They loaded up the kids and drove cross-country to see the Grand Canyon, the Smoky Mountains, Colorado, as well as many trips to Six Flags.  She also loved going with her kids and grandkids to Disney World. 

During the summer she called neighbors and friends to see if she could pick the figs from their trees to make her famous fig preserves.  They were the absolute best to eat on one of her hot, homemade buttermilk biscuits.  If you came to visit, you could almost count on her making a pan of biscuits in her cast-iron skillet, that made the best crunch on the bottom.  She had it down to an art.  AND if she made biscuits, she probably cooked at least a pound of bacon to go with them.  All of the grandkids liked to pile it on their plates or go back for seconds. 

If you ever visited T & R on a Sunday after church, or even on a week day, you could spot Marie filling her plate with her favorites: “green jello”, aka pistachio salad, and chicken fried steak with brown gravy.    In her most recent years, if there wasn’t chicken fried steak on the buffet, she would ask one of the waitresses if they had any that day; and as she would tell us, “it magically appeared at the table.”  She loved to go there on lunch dates with her friends, Ann Butler Curtis and Gladys Newman.  If she was short on time, a quick trip to the Dairy Queen for steak fingers and onion rings was an option.

The first grandchild, Christie Gunter Adams, affectionately started calling her Big Mama, much to her dismay.  However, the name stuck, she learned to love it, and she is known as Big Mama to many far and wide. 

Big Mama loved to sew, and fashioned many outfits for our different occasions.  She made a Halloween pumpkin costume that she kept passing down to the next child.  She enjoyed quilting and had quite a collection of fabric. For many years, she appliqued matching Christmas shirts for all the girls in the family.  As part of her love to serve, she made baby blankets and sent many of them to Ronald McDonald House in Houston.  For a time, she also made Angel Baby Blankets for First Baptist Church in Center.  She loved to sit and rock her grandbabies and greats and, sometimes it was hard for her to let them go and be put in their beds.

After Toledo Bend was built, F. L. bought a fishing boat and the family decided to learn to water ski.  It took much practice and many falls, but Big Mama learned to ski and could hold her own.  Many days you could see the family skiing four across from the Doyle English Marina.

Christmas was her favorite time of year.  She wanted the tree up early, and loved decorating the house and yard.

A special thanks to Casey Lout & Affinity Hospice for all of their hard work in trying to bring our Big Mama home.

Marie is survived by:


Dr. Keith Miller and wife Linda of Center Texas


Ruth Gunter of Tyler Texas

Wynema Payne and husband Steve of Greenville, Texas

Renita Hudman and husband Kelvin of Shelbyville Texas

Also, Grandchildren:

Christie Adams

Craig Gunter and wife Holly

Steve Payne II

Seth Payne, wife April, and baby girl Payne

Spenser Payne and wife Courtney

Reid Miller

Ryan Miller

Amy Matthews and husband Luke

Then, Great-Grandchildren:

Richard A. (Chipper) Adams Jr

Peyton Adams

Bailey Gunter

Kegan Gunter

Marlee Gunter

Jacob Payne

Carrie Matthews

Maggie Matthews

Sadie Matthews

Preceded in death by, The Late Fearnon “FL” Miller, Parents, Lonnie Davis and Carrie Davis and Brothers, Early Davis and Barron Davis.

Interment will be at Rather Cemetery with a private family graveside service.

In lieu of flowers and food, please consider a donation in her memory to either Rather Cemetery % Cathy Taylor, 11883 State Highway 87 South, Shelbyville TX  75973; or Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Dept, P.O. Box 226, Shelbyville TX  75973.


Mangum Funeral Home, Center, is in charge of arrangements.


The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935