Sarah (Sherry) Ward Grider McNair, a descendant of the pioneer Celaya family, passed away peacefully at her home on Monday, July 30, 2018 at the age of 89. Born September 22, 1928 to Elmore Starr Grider and Laura Celaya Grider, she spent her lifetime in Brownsville.
Sherry attended Incarnate Word Convent, Brownsville High School and Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.
In 1950, Sherry married Harry Eugene (Gene) McNair and had eight children. Known best for her unwavering Catholic faith and love of family, she dedicated her time to the Catholic church, school, civic activities and most importantly, her children. She was deeply involved with Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School, St. Joseph Academy, Villa Maria High School, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School, Boy and Girl Scouts and Cotillion.
Sherry welcomed bishops, priests, Sisters of the Incarnate Word, Sisters of the Holy Ghost, Sisters of Mercy and the Marist Brothers into the family home. The first two bishops appointed to the newly created Diocese of Brownsville, Most Reverend Adolph Marx (July 1965) and Most Reverend Humberto Medeiros (April 1966) were introduced to the Catholic community at receptions held at the McNair family home. On several special occasions, Mass was celebrated inside the McNair home and outside at their grotto with her sons serving as altar boys.
Her husband Gene served Brownsville as City Commissioner from 1959 to 1961 and Mayor from 1961 to 1963. Sherry was an active community contributor and hosted numerous political functions at her home during those times. She also was involved in the family business “McNair Clothing Manufacturing Company” with her husband. We watched her support our father in his businesses and many hobbies, always at his side as a wife but as importantly, as his trusted companion. Our mother traveled, hunted, fished, camped, gardened, bicycled and walked regularly with our father. She was his co-author of the McNair family Mexican cookbook, " An Adventure from South of the Border".
Sherry’s greatest joy was her family. Our mother guided our lives, sacrificed for our needs, acted as disciplinarian and gave us her time and unconditional love. In return she only asked that we all “stay close and in touch” with each other. Aside from being the perfect mother, she was a nurse, tutor, chaperone, chauffeur, classroom mother, den mother and cheerleader to her eight children. Mom never took the credit she deserved for raising eight children. Her credit was realized in our lives and the lives she touched. She taught her children all things were possible with commitment, hard work and a strong Catholic faith.
Mom expressed so much joy over the beauty of her yard. She and our father really enjoyed working their rose and vegetable gardens, watching the many birds in their aviary and the solitude of sitting outside their grotto and the peacefulness of their resaca.
Sherry is preceded in death by her husband Gene (November 2005) of 55 years and her sisters, Lucie Starr Schwartz (May 2010) of Brownsville and Laurita Barber (October 2012) of Houston. She is survived by her eight children: Karen, Karol, John (Debbie), Harry (Reba), Michael (Martha), Stephen (Stacy), George and Mary and her fifteen grandchildren: Trevor (Hillary), Justin (Brittany), Kathryn (Erich), Graham, Jack, Vivian, Brad, Emily, Sarah (Matthew), Michael Jr., Stephen, Jake, Dylan Starr, Matthew and Phillip and by eight great grandchildren: Gladys, Elliott, Owen, Marlo, Malcolm, Wyatt, Cadyn and Braelyn. She is also survived by her cousin Carmelita Celaya Groff and many nephews and nieces. Our mother was blessed to have the caring support of Teresa Torres and Clemente and Hernan Pena for over thirty years.
Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 9:00am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 602 E. Elizabeth Street, with Reverend Michael Amesse, OMI officiating. Pallbearers will be her five sons. Private burial services will follow the Mass.
In lieu of the usual remembrances, contributions in Sherry McNair’s name may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1218 E. Jefferson Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520.
I am very sorry to hear that your mom passed away. She was an amazing woman. Godspeed.
Juan BabiakHilo, HI