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Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley

December 13, 1921 April 25, 2024
Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley
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Obituary for Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley

Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley was born December 13, 1921 to the late Estella Billingsley Sanders and the late Tim

Sanders, Sr. in Uniontown, Perry County, Alabama. She departed this life on Thursday, April 25, 2024. She was

lovingly married to Turner Stovall and together they had two daughters, Kathleen and Audrey. After Turner’s

passing, she found love again and married Rayford Tapley. She was preceded in death by her parents, both

husbands, one sister, Ethel Lapsley and three brothers, Chester Sanders, Tim Sanders, Jr., and Fred Sanders.

At an early age, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, joining Woodlawn Baptist Church in

Uniontown, AL. She remained there until her move to Hurtsboro, Al where she became a member of Ross

Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church. Mrs. Stovall-Tapley served as a Sunday school teacher and the Varick Christian

Endeavor (VCE) advisor, mentoring the youth, as was her passion. Mrs. Stovall-Tapley credits her daughter

Audrey, with helping her make the decision to become a Seventh-day Adventist. After much research and

study she made the move and joined Christ is the Answer SDA Church in Hurtboro, AL. She served as a faithful

member until her health declined, and subsequently her death.

She attended a one teacher school, known as Hinton Hall, which taught grades one through six. She was then

transferred to a boarding school, Lincoln Normal in Marion, Alabama. After graduating from Lincoln Normal

School, she attended summer school and taught during the winter months until she earned her Bachelors of

Science degree in Elementary Education from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) in 1949

and 1955 respectively. She began teaching in the Perry County School System from 1943 until 1951 when she

accepted the position of teacher at the Russell County Training School, located in Hurtsboro, Alabama. She

became the librarian there and continued to further her education by receiving her Master’s Degree in Library

Science from Atlanta University in 1969. She retired from the Russell County School System in 1976 after

serving 25 years and entered the political arena.

In 1976, Mrs. Stovall-Tapley was elected as council woman and served two four-year terms. In 1984, she

became the first black female to be elected as Mayor of the Town of Hurtsboro, Alabama and consequently

also became the first black female to become a mayor in the State of Alabama. She served from 1984 until

2000, a total of four, four year terms. During her tenure she was an active member of numerous political, civic

and religious committees and organizations, such as: National Conference of Black Mayors, Alabama

Democratic Committee, Alabama League of Municipalities, Central Alabama Comprehensive Health Board of

Directors, Habitat for Humanity, Russell County Chamber of Commerce, Lee County Agency on Aging,

Southern Union Conference SDA Executive Committee, Hurtsboro Ladies Auxiliary, and East Alabama Funeral

Directors Association. She also received numerous awards. Some of her most cherished and distinguished

awards and honors include: 2009 Russell County Commission Proclamation Celebrating Black History, 2009

Spirit of Marion Honoree – Alabama State University, 1996 Distinguished Service Award – Alabama League of

Municipalities, 1996 Certificate of Appreciation – Rebuilding Railroad Street Bridge, and the 1986 National

Sojourner Meritorious Service Award – Alabama Funeral Directors & Morticians Association.

Mrs. Stovall-Tapley was not only a politician and educator, but also a business woman. She owned and

operated Stovall Funeral Home, Inc. until her health declined. Stovall Funeral Home, Inc. is still a family-owned

business serving the Hurtsboro and surrounding communities for 96 years.

Cherishing loving memories of her are daughters Kathleen (Sell) Caldwell of Decatur, GA and Audrey Stovall

Brown of Seale, AL; four step-children, Barbara Howard of Miami, FL, Laura Tapley and Gloria (John) Tapley-

Miles of Atlanta, GA and Emil Tapley of Opelika, AL.; five grandchildren Alison (Kateric) Stovall-Quinnie, Royce

Stovall, Noah Caldwell, Sydny Caldwell and Tori Tapley; two great-grandchildren Alexander Stovall and

Kamden Caldwell; a devoted God son, Jesse James Giddeon and special life-long friend Evelyn Salary; a host of

cousins, nieces, nephews and friends and former students of the Hurtsboro and Russell County, Alabama

communities. Mrs. Stovall-Tapley was loved by so many that we cannot name them all. Just know that she

genuinely loved and appreciated you all.

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Previous Events





2:00 PM 5/5/2024 2:00:00 PM - 6:00 PM 5/5/2024 6:00:00 PM
Stovall Funeral Home

605 Main St
P.O. Box 154
Hurtsboro, AL 36860

Stovall Funeral Home
605 Main St Hurtsboro 36860 AL
United States





1:00 PM 5/7/2024 1:00:00 PM - 3:00 AM 5/7/2024 3:00:00 AM
St. Paul AME Church

3 Highway 51 North
Hurtsboro, AL 36860

St. Paul AME Church
3 Highway 51 North Hurtsboro 36860 AL
United States

Cemetery Details


Ross Chapel Cemetery Final Resting Place

Kent Street
Hurtsboro, AL 36860

Kent Street Hurtsboro 36860 AL
United States

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