Mariella Glenn Hartsfield

Published 5:00 pm Friday, November 30, 2012

March 17, 1940 –
Nov. 27, 2012

Dr. Mariella Glenn Hartsfield, 72, of Grady County, Ga., passed away Tuesday morning, Nov. 27, 2012, at Clearview Regional Medical Center in Monroe, Ga. Dr. Hartsfield, born on March 17, 1940, was the third daughter of the late William Robert and Eva Marie Cupper Glenn of Grady County.

Dr. Hartsfield grew up in Grady County on her parents’ farm. Hence, she always loved the outdoors and had a great fondness for animals, especially dogs and horses. She was quick to rescue an injured animal or a homeless pet.

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She attended Pelham High School, and with her magnetic personality and love for others, she made many friends. She was involved in basketball and various academic activities, graduating in 1958. In the fall of that year, she entered the Women’s College of Georgia at Milledgeville, later renamed Georgia College and State University. She served as president of the student body, graduating in 1962 with a B.A. in English. Her first teaching position was at Cairo High School. During this time, she continued her education in English at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla., where she earned her Master’s and later, her Ph.D.

When the college was only in its third year of operation, Dr. Hartsfield became a faculty member of Bainbridge Junior College, later renamed Bainbridge College. It was during these early years, inspired by the tales her father used to tell her and her sisters when they were children, that she began to consider the study of folklore. She was convinced of her pursuit after studying folklore under Professor Russell Reaver. Dr. Ed Mobley, then-president of Bainbridge Junior College, and Dean Fred Henderson extended a sabbatical to her so that she could pursue her studies. In 1973 Delta Kappa Gamma Society granted her an International Scholarship for her studies. Later, she served as president of the Alpha Delta Chapter. During her sabbatical, she studied under Professor Jan Harold Brunvand at the University of Utah, whose influence, along with that of Professor Reaver, introduced her, in her words, “to a discipline that spans all times and cultures.”

Her study led to her dissertation on folklore, which she completed in 1980. The tales of her father were combined with those of others that she collected from a variety of storytellers. Dr. Hartsfield gave the most credit for her book to her former husband, Mr. John A. Hartsfield, Jr., who continued to be her life-long friend. He believed in her study and encouraged her. He also accompanied her during all her visits to folklorists and served as her recorder and photographer.

The materials from Dr. Hartsfield’s dissertation were later used in her book, Tall Betsy and Dunce Baby: South Georgia Folktales, published in 1987. In 1990, she collaborated with President Ed Mobley and Mrs. Jacque Wheeler of Valdosta State College in making her book into a musical, Tall Betsy and the Crackerbarrel Tales. The musical was a great success and was presented in various areas of South Georgia. Her work with the musical then gave her the experience and knowledge to help in the establishment of Swamp Gravy, a community interactive play, presented annually in Colquitt, Ga.

While Dr. Hartsfield served as chairperson for Humanities, the college was recognized in several areas of expertise. According to an article on her in The Post-Searchlight, dated March 8, 1997, she led and participated in numerous projects, which fostered the excellence of the college. These include the Southwest Georgia Stylus: An English Newsletter, promoting concepts of teaching; a program of visitation to English teachers in eight counties; emphasis on international studies and the establishment of foreign language fairs, which drew many people to the Bainbridge College campus; the Artists’ Guild, chartered in 1987; Cultural Calendars, with a circulation of approximately 250 teachers; and the hosting of art exhibits. In 2010 Bainbridge College presented an award to Dr. Hartsfield in appreciation of her service.

In her early years Dr. Hartsfield attended Macedonia Baptist Church in Northeast Grady County and became a Christian. During her college years she became a member of First Baptist Church in Milledgeville. While living in Cairo, she enjoyed attending First United Methodist Church.

Dr. Hartsfield is survived by two sisters: Naomi Glenn Oliver, wife of William Lewis Oliver Jr., Habersham County, Ga.; and Martha Harriette Hamrick, wife of Robert H. Hamrick Jr., Monroe, Ga. Mary Frances Maxwell, wife of Clarke Reynolds Maxwell Sr., preceded Dr. Hartsfield in death on July 25, 2010.

Dr. Hartsfield is survived also by her nephews and nieces: Anne Marie Oliver, wife of Paul F. Steinberg; Eva Closs Maxwell, wife of Gary F. Fischer; William Lewis Oliver III (Lew); Clarke Reynolds Maxwell Jr., husband of Rhetta Sue Banas; their children, and other relatives. Dr. Hartsfield was the paternal granddaughter of Thomas Augustus and Ella West Glenn of Grady County, Georgia, and the maternal granddaughter of Thomas Edgar and Alice Munroe Cupper of Quincy, Fla. Dr. Hartsfield’s parents and grandparents preceded her in death.

Two memorial services will be observed: one on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. at Nacoochee United Methodist Church at Sautee-Nacoochee, Ga.; the other, on Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. at Cairo First United Methodist Church in Cairo.

Contributions may be made to Bainbridge College, earmarked for the Mariella Glenn Hartsfield Memorial Scholarship Fund, and sent to P.O. Box 990, Bainbridge, GA 39818. Contributions may also be sent to Vashti Center, 1815 East Clay Street, Thomasville, GA 31792 or to Wesley Glen Ministries, 4580 North Mumford Road, Macon, GA 31210.

Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory in Buford, Ga. was in charge.