Mary Gay Deskin, nee Laughlin, 87, passed away May 21, 2021, in the Westminster Palms Residential Community, St. Petersburg, FL where she was a resident. On July 2, 1933, she was born to Myrtle and Cecil Laughlin in her grandmother Shockley’s farmhouse on Highway 89 just south of Linn.
She was united in marriage to Robert Deskin of Boonville on January 29, 1955. Mary Gay attended Linn schools, graduating from Linn High School in 1951 and the University of Missouri in 1955. She was a schoolteacher in her early years of marriage but soon switched to the life of mother and homemaker; but she never lost her life-long love of drawing, painting, and all things artistic.
Her Osage County ancestors, the Laughlins, Shockleys, Lambeths, and Stiesmyers were early immigrants to Missouri. Goodspeed’s History of Gasconade County, Missouri, says the Shockleys were among the first settlers of our area, arriving as early as 1812. She was christened in the old St John’s Methodist Church where her mother was active for many years.
Mary Gay’s childhood was marked by scarcity. There was a devastating drought in Missouri in the 30’s— the worst drought in North America in 300 years. There was a scarcity of water, money, jobs, and, for many, hope for the future. The 40’s ushered in World War II and the scarcity got worse—no new cars, rationing of gasoline, fuel oil, coal, tires, and many agricultural products. But, for these children of Osage County, life was centered around their family. They were a resilient lot, and Mary Gay’s life in Osage County was surprisingly happy and content. That was to be the precursor of her future life.
As a child, she lived with her parents and sister Alice across the road from her paternal (Laughlin) grandparents. The John Clay Laughlin farm was immediately adjacent to the J.P. Shockley farm, home of her maternal grandparents. Many other relatives lived close by, at least until sometime after WWII. Now, Mary Gay returns to the earth of Osage County to join many of those relatives in the Valhalla/Roselawn section of the Linn Public Cemetery.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Myrtle and Cecil Laughlin, and her son Andrew who are buried in the Linn Public Cemetery. Mary Gay is survived by her sister Alice Scott of Boise, Idaho, husband of 66 years Robert, and children, Bruce Deskin, of Houston, TX and spouse Rachel, Paula Korstvedt, and husband Ben of Rutland, Massachusetts, and three grandchildren. The oldest of 11 cousins, Mary Gay was respected and beloved by all.
Interment will be in the Linn Public Cemetery in a private ceremony.
Arrangements are under the direction of Morton Chapel, Linn, Missouri (897-2214) www.mortonchapel.com
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