Mary Margaret DeFranco

Mary Margaret DeFranco

1946 – 2020 

Mary Margaret DeFranco of Terrell, TX passed away August 22, 2020. Mary Margaret was the daughter of Philip W. and Bobbie Nell DeFranco, and grew up in Corsicana TX. She attended Fannin Elementary, Collins Junior High, and Corsicana High Schools. Mary Margaret attended East Texas State University.  Her sense of adventure started early when she left Texas to live in Africa.  She was hired to draw botanicals at Jane Goodall’s now Gombe Stream National Park, where she got to know the chimpanzees intimately.  This is where her love of animals truly grew.  

After returning from Africa, she developed her art and her photography. Mary Margaret became a most talented and versatile artist. She would get interested in a medium, study it, and master it. She drew in pencil, pastels, and ink and painted in acrylic and oil.  There are many homes in Texas which house her hand painted ceilings, walls, ceramics, and murals.  She handmade ceramic tile, sculpture and even created her own glazing and unique color finishes firing them in her at home studio. She created wood cut-outs, wood painting, macramé, pottery, and clay sculpture.  As the architect and interior designer for her home in Terrell, Mary Margaret carefully selected and chose every element.  She developed a unique multi-media style of art that incorporated fabrics, painting, figurines, and paper mâché into handmade books and textile art. There was not anything she couldn’t make, and she never stopped learning and applying her skills. 

If Mary Margaret is not remembered for her art, she is remembered for how she could light up a room with her joie de vie and loving personality - funny, gorgeous inside and out, and full of love.  She loved life, loved creating, and loved caring for animals.  She was given the name St. Mary of Assisi as so many animals (“throw aways” as she called them) would come to her door.  Even after moving out of the country and into town, we wondered, “How would the animals find her?”  Sure enough, they did, as always: cats, dogs, and even a tortoise that she fed tomatoes who lived under her deck. Most often, people would describe her as a vibrant and free spirit; her family agrees.  Now her spirit is free.

Mary Margaret is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Dorie DeFranco of La Jolla, CA, and niece Quinn DeFranco Morgan. Inspired by her Auntie Ms artistic talent and influence, Quinn is a fine artist and owner of an interior architecture and design firm in San Francisco, carrying on Auntie Ms legacy of bringing more beauty to the world.

No public services are scheduled at this time. Cremation is under the direction of Corley Funeral Home in Corsicana, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, please honor her love for animals by giving to one of the following:

A Place to Bark – PO Box 649, Portland TN 37148

The Elephant Sanctuary – PO Box 393, Hohenwald, TN 38462

The Jane Goodall Institute – 1595 Spring Hill Rd, Vienna, VA 22182

Operation Kindness – 3201 Earhart Dr, Carrolton, TX 75006 

 or a favorite animal charity of your choice. 

An online guestbook is available at and selecting the Mary Margaret DeFranco obituary.