Mary Monk Asbell

Mary Monk Asbell


Mary Monk Asbell Mackenzie entered eternal rest on August 28, 2019. She was born in Maryville, Missouri, to Eldon ‘Bud’ and Edna Mary Monk Asbell. Mary graduated from Maryville High School in 1965 and from Northwest Missouri State University in 1969 with degrees in Literature, Language, and Composition. In college, she was active in Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and many other organizations. She taught three years for the St. Joseph Missouri School District and worked one year at the Rolling Hills Library in St. Joseph.

In 1974 Mary earned a Master of Arts in Library Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia, then worked as Extension and Clinical Librarian for Moody Medical Library, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas. In 1991, she took the position of Senior Associate Director for Extramural Services for the School of Medicine, Preston Smith Library, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas. In this position she oversaw operations at branch libraries in El Paso, Midland/Odessa, and Amarillo. She conducted workshops, gave presentations, wrote supporting publications, taught courses, won grants, and taught librarians how to use the Internet. She also edited research papers for physicians.

Mary held leadership positions in seven professional organizations, most notably the Medical Library Association and its regional branch, which twice awarded her the William Postell Professional Development Award. She retired in 2002 but continued to substitute at the library.

While in St. Joe she was married for a short time. In 1990, she married Allan Mackenzie II, and these soulmates enjoyed 29 years of companionship. Together they enjoyed life to the fullest, particularly supporting art, music, athletic, church, and community fundraising events. They were committee members and officers in several community organizations. They traveled extensively but also loved their home and cats.

In Mary’s junior year of high school, doctors removed a large acoustic neuroma at the base of her skull. The procedure took four surgeries, and a nerve had to be cut. The tumor twice returned, and other secondary surgeries occurred through her life. It was amazing what Mary accomplished, in spite of these physical challenges. Allan was her foundation and #1 cheer leader. Eventually, the effects of the surgeries wore her down and took her life.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas Tillman. She is survived by her husband, sister, Ann Asbell, Corvallis, Oregon, and an extended family of cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: The Women’s Club Historical Foundation, 2020 Broadway, Lubbock, TX 79401 or The P.E.O. Foundation, PCE Project, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312.

A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 11, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, Maryville, Missouri.

Inurnment will be in Ohio Cemetery, Burlington Junction, Missouri.

Online condolences may be made to the family at


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