Cover photo for Mary Alice Cates's Obituary
Mary Alice Cates Profile Photo
1938 Mary 2020

Mary Alice Cates

July 2, 1938 — August 5, 2020

BOYLE- Mary Alice Cates, 82, a lifelong resident of Cleveland, Mississippi, died August 5, 2020, following a courageous battle against progressive respiratory illnesses.  Mary Alice was born July 2, 1938, to Lindsey Allen and Mary Alice Meador of Cleveland.  Mary Alice attended Cleveland public schools graduating from Cleveland High School in 1956.  While attending Delta State University she married Albert Dennis Cates of Hollandale, Mississippi.  Thereafter, she and Dennis began a family having Albert Dennis Cates, Jr. (Karen), Victor “Bubba “Cates (Ann), and Julie Cates Neeley (Rand) before completing her undergraduate degree in 1973.  Mary Alice’s thirst for knowledge not satisfied, she went on to attain her Masters and Ph.D. in counseling from Delta State University.

Her very nature, aided by her education, guided her lifetime work of service to others.  Rising to the position of Director of Counseling at Delta State, Mary Alice served the University as a whole and countless students as well.  Serving beyond the Delta State community, Mary Alice was a member and officer in numerous state, regional and national organizations dedicated to the enhancement of the counseling profession.  Most notably Mary Alice was a charter member of the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors and also elected President of the American Association of State Counseling Boards.  Beyond her service to her profession, Mary Alice was served others as an active member in numerous faith-based programs.  She participated in the Kairos prison ministry assisting its efforts at Parchman State Penitentiary.  Within her longtime church, Calvary Episcopal Church, Mary Alice served on its Vestry, the parish’s Altar Guild, and was an instructor in the parish’s Education for Ministry program. 

Mary Alice was predeceased by her parents and first husband, Dennis.  She is survived by her husband Samuel Coy Jones of Cleveland her sister Mary Margaret “Peggy” Koonce of Monroe, Louisiana, and her brother, Lindsey Carnahan Meador of Cleveland. She is also survived by her three children, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, all of whom she adored, loved fiercely and rejoiced in their successes and shared in their disappointments

A graveside burial will be held on August 8, 2020, at 11:00 am. the Greenville City Cemetery. Father Les Hegwood and Reverend Will Wilkerson will officiate the services.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to French Camp Academy, Delta State University Baseball Foundation, or St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Mary Alice exemplified Christ’s love for those she counseled, consoled, befriended, and sought to serve.  Her warm spirit, a listening ear, infectious laugh, and sincere interest in others were gifted to all those she encountered.

Due to the COVID restrictions, masks will be worn and social distancing will be in place for the service.
Cleveland Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The on-line guest register may be signed at


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Alice Cates, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Delta Heights Memorial Gardens

MS-8, Cleveland, MS

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