Mary Beth Sargent, 93, of Mt Juliet, Tennessee passed away on February 11, 2023. Born to Mildred and Paul Hollister in Carlinville, Illinois, her family moved to Lebanon, Tennessee, and she later earned a degree in French from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute in Cookeville in 1950. She met her future husband, Keith Sargent, while attending “Tennessee Tech”, and at his behest, joined the flying club. Her interest in flying had already been piqued at age 12, when she went up for a flight during an air show in Lebanon. While learning to fly, she and Keith earned each other’s love and devotion, and were married at Cookeville Presbyterian Church on May 20, 1951. They continued flying from the old Cumberland Field (where the Metro Center is now located), enjoying a bit of friendly competition with each other to see who would take their private pilot checkride first. They both obtained their private pilot certificates in 1953, and aviation remained a large part of their lives through the years, even as they welcomed three children into their family. Early on, Mary Beth took aerobatic flying lessons and was a member of The Ninety-Nines; later she and Keith became active members of the Tennessee Chapter of the Short Wing Piper Club. She and her husband flew their airplanes together for more than 50 years.
She was a dedicated homemaker who enjoyed devoting her time to her family and community. Her volunteer activities included helping children improve their reading comprehension as a tutor through the Friends Learning in Pairs program at Hermitage Elementary School for more than 10 years; she was presented with the Flora McKean Award for Outstanding Dedication to Tutoring in May 2001 by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Senior Citizens, Inc. She also volunteered at the Donelson and Hermitage Libraries, and received the Volunteer - Lifetime Award in 2001 from the Public Library of Nashville. She used her natural artistic talents to illustrate family photo albums, and employed her seamstress skills to earn income from home by doing alterations. For more than 40 years the family lived in Hermitage, where she was a member of Hermitage United Methodist Church.
She was predeceased by her husband, Keith, of 66 years; her brother, Donald Paul Hollister (Gloria) of Columbia, South Carolina; her sister, Margery Hargrove (Murrey); and a nephew, John Thomas Hargrove. She is survived by two sons, Leslie Keith Sargent of Chuckey, TN; Laurice “Sandy” Sargent (Marie) of Old Hickory, TN; a daughter, Holly Ann Sargent of Mt Juliet, TN; a granddaughter, Isabela Sargent; and a number of nieces, nephews and great nephews. A memorial service will be announced when plans are made, and inurnment will be in the Sargent family section of Mt Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, TN.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to the Hermitage Elementary School or Hermitage Library.