Mary Jernigan – Obituary


Mary Jean Hawley Jernigan, 86, of Raleigh, passed away Monday, December 21, 2020. She was born August 25, 1934, in Harnett County, NC, to the late Alonzo and Mary Hudson Hawley. 

Jean’s life revolved around family, faith, and friends. She graduated from Coats High School in 1952 and married her high school sweetheart, Raymond, a few months later. Together, they moved around the country to Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, and New Jersey. They settled back in Raleigh in 1977 and joined Bay Leaf Baptist Church. Their deep love for one another sustained their marriage and family for 68 years and many miles. 

No matter where they lived, Jean created a warm and caring home and an example of faith for her children to follow. Her compassion for others like her faith was endless. In her “retirement,” she volunteered with the NC Baptist Men’s group and the Red Cross, going into areas after hurricanes to provide food for the people affected and for those group members working to assist in the area’s clean-up.

She was full of sass with a wide-open laugh and a beautiful smile, and she had the gift of making everyone around her feel welcome. Jean enjoyed cooking and was known for her coconut cakes that were often auctioned for charitable causes and given in times of grief and of joy. She was a gifted seamstress and sewed clothing for many years, first for her children and then later for grandchildren as well as great-nieces and nephews. Whether at the beach or on the lake, she was happy with a fishing pole in her hand. 

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her grandson Thomas Michael Hardee, one brother Alenzo Hawley, and two sisters, Ellen Johnson and Westa Barefoot. 

Those left to cherish her memory include her husband of 68 years, Raymond E. Jernigan of the residence, two daughters, Rebecca Jean Jernigan of Raleigh, Brenda Sue Jernigan of Fayetteville, one son, Douglas Ray Jernigan and wife Cynthia of Raleigh, five grandchildren, Amanda Ellen Hardee, Katherine Hawley Chesson, Benjamin Smith Chesson, Jacob Jernigan, and Nathan Jernigan and five great-grandchildren as well as her brother William B. Hawley of Coats, NC.

A graveside service celebrating Jean’s life will be conducted on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. at Bay Leaf Baptist Church Cemetery by Pastor Don Gilbert. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (, the Bay Leaf Baptist Church Missions Fund, the Bay Leaf Baptist Church Cemetery Fund (, or the Dementia Alliance (

Bright Funeral Home and Cremation Center is serving the Jernigan Family.