Mary Jean Rahhal Massad was long thought to have been born on the Fourth of July in 1931, a day of celebration set in a season of Depression-laden sorrow. To her kids and grandkids, Mary recently confessed that her true birthday was actually the Fifth of July, a day for nursing hotdog hangovers and stinging sunburns after parades and fireworks and the rush of freedom. When asked why she celebrated on July 4th for most of her adult life, she smiled, and, true to her ever-obliging, ever-thoughtful character, said, “I thought it would be easier to remember if my birthday were July 4th!”
Mary was born in Weleetka, Oklahoma to John and Woodad Rahhal, the third of four children, after older sister Helen, brother Lindy, and followed by baby brother, Bebe. She was closest in age and spirit to Bebe, and on the way to school as kids, the pair would link arms and sing, propelled forward by a certain joy that would sustain them all the days of their lives. Mary grew into a kind, beautiful teenager who excelled in school, was active in her church, and spent afternoons with her girlfriends at ‘the pictures’, riding about town, and cheering on the school sports teams. She graduated valedictorian of her class and went on to attend The University of Oklahoma.
As a young woman, Mary had her eye on Anthony ‘Tony’ Massad, the son of family friends with the charm and smarts befitting a future lawyer and public servant. They were soon engaged, and Mary captured the moment in her diary, “Well Mary, how does it feel to be engaged? Wonderful. I love Tony so much. I know we will be happy.”
Mary was right. There was much happiness in store for the two of them and their three children who soon followed, Cindy, Cathy, and Mike. Together, they built a life in Frederick, Oklahoma, a small town that became as much a part of them as they became part of it. Mary delighted in her roles as wife and mother and was happiest in the company of her family. She was a helper -- at home, at the First Christian Church, and among her wide circle of friends. Mary was content to lend help out of the spotlight: she cared not for praise but rather preferred to share her gifts quietly. Nevertheless, Frederick once recognized her as Citizen of the Year, the First Christian Church appointed her as a deacon and member of the Board of Directors, and her kids were never shy to proclaim that their mother was unrivaled.
As Cindy, Cathy, and Mike grew into adulthood, Mary embarked on new adventures -- as a world traveler alongside Tony, as a novice golfer, as a consignment shop owner, and as a grandmother and great-grandmother. Trips to ‘Mimi’s’ house meant hours of card games, lazy afternoons on the back deck, dress-up with an enviable box of costume jewelry, caroling at Christmas (and sometimes Thanksgiving!), and no less than three refrigerators’ worth of Lebanese dishes. The soundtrack to every trip was Mimi’s laughter, as she was tickled by the smallest of things, and her amusement easily swept through the house and infected all her guests.
Mary met family, friends, and strangers alike with arms outstretched and a smile that somehow mended every hurt. Her kids and grandkids always prodded her, “Mimi, which of us is your favorite?” She would laugh and dismiss the question as silly, “You are all my favorite, of course.” And she meant it. Mary made everyone feel seen and worthy. There was always a seat open at her table -- and a heaping plate of food to follow.
Mary was anchored by her Christian faith, a faith that brought forth a staggering strength in the midst of heartache. She stared down breast cancer, she wept over the graves of her parents, three siblings, eldest daughter and son-in-law, and she cared for her husband of nearly 67 years in the difficult twilight of his life. Mary never complained, never spoke a cross word, never met an enemy. She faced both feast and famine with grace upon grace, a grace so persistent and stubborn and breathtaking that she was affectionately called Saint Mary.
The Lord welcomed His good and faithful servant to her eternal home on October 29, 2020. Mary was surely greeted by those who had gone before her, including Tony Massad, her husband; Cindy and Dom Garrison, her daughter and son-in-law; John and Woodad Rahhal, her parents; and Helen, Lindy, and Bebe Rahhal, her sister and brothers. She will be very missed by daughter, Cathy Massad Bryan, and son-in-law Jimmy Bryan, of Dallas, Texas; son, Mike Massad, and daughter-in-law, Cindy Massad, of Norman, Oklahoma; grandchildren and their spouses, Matt and Shannon Garrison, of Blanchard, Oklahoma; Amy and Cory Goddard, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Ashley and Adam Flores, of Dallas, Texas; Nicole, Zach, and Norah Houchin, of Dallas, Texas; Cole Massad, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Cali Massad, of Dallas, Texas; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws.
To know Mary was to be loved. What an undeserved gift that God saw fit to share her goodness with us. While she will be so missed, her spirit will stay with us on this side of Heaven.
In lieu of flowers, Mary’s family asks that you make a contribution in her honor to the First Christian Church of Frederick, Oklahoma, located at 500 N. 15th Street, Frederick, Oklahoma 73542. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, her service and burial will be private.
Orr Gray Gish Funeral Home
111 N. 11th Street
Frederick, OK 73542
"Service Beyond Expectation"