Mary Louise Kendall Goodrich Shields

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 6, 2015

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Sept. 21, 1906 – Oct. 29, 2015

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NATCHEZ — Services for Mary Louise Kendall Goodrich Shields, 109, of Natchez, who died Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, at her residence, Monteigne, will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church.11_06 MaryLKGShields obitpic

Burial will be private under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Mrs. Shields was born Sept. 21, 1906, in Vidalia, at the home of her uncle, Judge John Dale, the daughter of William B. Netterville and Eliza Lessley Netterville.

She was one of the founders of the Natchez Pilgrimage and former Democratic National Committeewoman. She married William Kendall in 1926. She attended her first democratic convention in 1932, and fell under the spell of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Politics dominated her life for the next decade. In 1936, at the age of 29, the state party elected her the Democratic National Committeewoman from Mississippi, a position she held for the next 12 years. The Kendalls were part of a group that was civic-minded and worked to bring industry to the city of Natchez.

In 1961, when William Kendall died, she turned her attention to the care of his camellia garden and became deeply involved in the Pilgrimage Garden Club and the Garden Club of America. She traveled around the world with the Garden Club of America and later served as its vice president. She also served as president of the family-owned Natchez Coca Cola Bottling Company. In addition, Mary Louise served on the Protestant Orphanage Board, the Duncan Park Commission, the advisory board of the Deposit Guaranty Bank and others.

In 1964, she married Hunter Goodrich from New York. His roommate at Princeton was the father of Mary Louise’s son-in-law, John Hobson. The Goodriches divided their time between Natchez and New York. She remained active in the Pilgrimage Garden Club and the Southampton Garden Club and served as president of both. After Hunter Goodrich’s death, she spent the summers with her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who visited her on Long Island.

Her marriage in 1995, to Dr. Dunbar Shields was a lovely surprise to them and to her daughters. Dr. Shields grew up in the country on a plantation bordering the Mississippi River called Mount Repose. They were childhood friends.

As a close friend of Mary Louise’s said, “She glowed with life” and “had a sense of playfulness — life was fun.” It was never too much trouble for her to do something for someone who asked for help or who needed it.

Mary Louise was preceded in death by her elder daughter, Mary Lou.

Survivors include her daughter, Ann Haack and husband, Frederick, of New Orleans; six grandchildren, Kendall Hobson, Ann Hastings Soniat, Dodge Hobson, Lou Hobson, Laura Hobson Larson and Rigby Robinson; and eight great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, family and friends are welcome to send memorials to the Historic Natchez Foundation, Trinity Episcopal Church or the foundation of their choice.

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