Esther Lee Gambrell Deviney
Esther Lee Gambrell Deviney, age 103, of Martindale, Texas, passed away on Friday, Dec. 9, 2005. Mrs. Deviney, born in Prairie Lea, Texas, was the daughter of Judge John Newton Gambrell and Mary Clementine Mooney Gambrell of Lockhart.
She was united in marriage to Marvin Lee Deviney, Sr., of Martindale, on April 6, 1921. She received her BA degree from Texas State Univ
ersity and began a teaching career that spanned many years, reaching hundreds of Texas students. She had a great love of music and was involved in directing choirs, and promoting music in the schools and communities in which she lived. She directed the Melody Maids who performed publicly.
Mrs. Deviney was a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church, serving as the pianist and choir director of her church in every town where she resided.
Their teaching careers carried them to various Texas towns where Marvin served as Superintendent of Schools. These cities include Bishop, Raymondville, Martindale, Hull-Daisetta and finally to Prairie Lea, which meant “back home” to their families. The last move made it possible to build a home and live out their lives on Dinner Bell Ranch located on the beautiful San Marcos River.
Their two children, Marvin Lee Deviney, Jr. and Mary Esther Eck were born in Bishop.
Esther began her serious teaching career during WWII when teachers were scarce. Her great love of history and the English language served her well in her teaching career and in researching the family genealogy. She became a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, The Jamestowne Society, The Magna Charta Dames and Barons, Daughters of the American Revolution, Delta Kappa Gamma, Colonial Dames and Colonial Clergy. She authored “The Gambrell Album” and the “Applings – The Mooneys, Through the Years 1685-1976,” both books on family history. She received the Methodist Kate Warnake Award for writing “A Link With The Past. The History of the Prairie Lea Methodist Church.” She contributed sections to “Historical Caldwell Country,” which was published in 1984.
She will be long remembered by her family and students for her encouragement to strive and persevere to receive a good education, good grades, and to succeed in life. A twinkle always appeared in her eyes at the report of a good grade.
Esther amazed everyone by outliving all her family and reaching the age of 103. She lived to see the development of the indoor plumbing and electricity, automobiles, airplanes, space travel, computers, e-mail, and fast foods. She saw her country embroiled in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War, Desert Storm, 9-11 and the current conflict. What a life she experienced!
Mrs. Deviney is survived by her daughter, Mary Esther Eck and husband, LeRoy Eck of San Antonio: son Marvin Lee Deviney, Jr. and wife, Marie Deviney of Georgetown; grandchildren Mary Nell Eck Young, Dr. Brian L. Eck, Lee Deviney, John H. Deviney and Ann-Marie Deviney Bowen; great-grandchildren, Marilee Young, Gray Eck, Caroline Eck, Cade Deviney, Zane Deviney, Wyatt Deviney and Madeline Bowen.
Funeral services were held on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2005 at the Prairie Lea United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Visitation was held at the church from noon until 2 p.m. Burial followed at the Humphrey Cemetery in Martindale following the service.
Pallbearers were Dr. Brian Eck, Gray Eck, Sam Young, Lee Deviney, John Deviney and Brent Bowen.
Memorials may be sent to: the Marvin and Esther Deviney Scholarhip, Texas State University; the Esther Deviney Scholarship at Prairie Lea High School; or the Prairie Lea United Methodist Church.
Arrangements with Eeds Funeral Home.