Mary Jo Henson Corley, 93, of Calhoun, passed away at her home on Friday, December 17, 2021, following several years of declining health. Mary was born in Gordon County on February 2, 1928; she was the daughter of the late Charles F. and Ora McDearis Henson. Along with her parents, Mary was preceded in death by her husbands, Thomas R. Russell, Milton Ratner, and John W. Corley; her sisters, Dimple Cox and Ethelyn Fain; her brothers, J.D. Henson, Jerry Henson, and C.F. Henson.
Mary grew up during the Great Depression; to seek a better life, she went north to Detroit to find a job that paid union wages. She met and married Milton Ratner. When they came to visit, he observed Mary's mom working in an egg house and saw a business opportunity. Along with Milton, she operated one of the most up-to-date egg farms in the country. After his death in 1968, the Milton Ratner Foundation was established. Mary, as president of the foundation, was instrumental in giving millions of dollars to good causes. Even now, the philanthropic work of the Ratner Foundation will continue. In 1970, Mary married John Corley. Together, they founded and operated Mar-Jon Mills. This was a local business that employed many area residents. After selling the mill and retiring, Mary and John traveled the world, enjoyed entertaining family and friends, and, Mary especially, loved cooking for her family.
Mary is survived by her son, Jock Russell; her grandchildren, Nathan Russell and Dee Dee Brannon; her great-grandchildren, Jacob Russell, Landon Russell, Brooks Brannon, and Libby Brannon; her sisters, Bessie Ruth Estes and Peggy Greeson.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM at Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home. The funeral service will follow the visitation, beginning at 1:00 PM, from the Chapel of Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home with Rev. Eddie Brannon officiating. Burial will follow in Fain Cemetery with Danny Elrod, Billy Hiles, Ted Gilbert, Stacy Cochran, Lamar Worley and Ken Greeson serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers include Larry Defoor and Jerry Clements.
The Brannon family and staff are honored to serve the family of Mary Jo Corely.