Chef Mary F. Atkinson Vance Campbell loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and educator went to be with the Lord on Saturday, August 14, 2021.
Mary was born in February 1928 to Elizabeth and George Crawford. Having been brought up during the Great Depression, Mary was a hard worker as the second oldest of 7 children and had to quit school in the 8th grade to earn money working for other people taking care of their home and children.
Mary married Walter “Brooks” Atkinson in 1945 and had a son, Jimmy. Soon she went back to work starting out behind a soda fountain and also spent many years as a waitress, ending up managing Noble’s Restaurant in Brentwood, TN. While raising a family she earned her GED and eventually earned her Vocational Teacher Certification at the University of Tennessee in 1987.
Mary was one of the founding members and first female chef to sign the roster of the American Culinary Federation Middle Tennessee Chapter. Chef Mary wrote and published Granny White’s Southern Traditional Cuisine in 1984. In 2006, Chef Mary earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Culinary Federation. She also developed a Certified Culinary Arts Program at Glencliff HS, being the only Culinary Arts Academy in Metro Nashville Public Schools accredited by the American Culinary Federation where the students ran the Southern Tea Room. Chef Mary and students prepared, served, and hosted many Metro School Board members and city dignitaries. Chef Mary retired working full time at the age of 81.
Mary was a devoted Christian and member of Lebanon Road Church of Christ in Nashville, TN. She spent her life helping others, worshiping God, and being a role model of hard work and perseverance.
Mary is survived by her son, Jimmy J. (Winona) Atkinson of Gainesville, GA; daughter, Joan (John) O’Neal of Bridgeport, AL; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Walter “Brooks” Atkinson in 1970; her husband, Nat Vance in 1992; and her husband, Marion H. Campbell in 2018; one brother and five sisters.
Visitation will be Sunday, August 22, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Memorial will be at 3:00 p.m. at Woodbine Funeral Home – Hickory Chapel located at 5852 Nolensville Road, Nashville, TN 37211. The Interment will be Monday, August 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 7931 McCrory Lane, Nashville, TN 37221.