Mary Katherine Travis
DAYTON — Mary Katherine Hill Travis, 73, passed away at her home in Dayton, Tenn., on May 1, 2021. She was born March 30, 1948 in Rockwood, Tenn., the daughter of the late Ceamon and Katherine (Killough) Hill. She was a lifelong member of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church.
Mary attended Rhea County High School where she was a majorette. Mary was also active in Girl
Scouts growing up and later her daughter’s troop leader. She graduated the Career Training Institute in
Chattanooga as a computer keypunch operator. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in
Business Administration: Organization Management with cum laude honors from Bryan College. Mary
began her career at DuPont in September 1971, working over 31 years before her retirement in May of
Mary married Donald “Donnie” Lynn Travis at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Dayton on March 31,
1972. She spent 42 years with the “love of her life” until he passed away in October of 2014. Mary enjoyed traveling with her family to 49 of the 50 states, multiple Caribbean Islands, Ireland twice, and
several European countries.
She is survived by her children “Kim” Kimberly Ann (Daryl) Runyan, “Roby”
Robert Donald Travis, and “Kathy” Katherine LaDon (Randy) Garrison; grandchildren Kyle (Leah) Runyan, Brooklynn Runyan, Ben and Levi Garrison; and sister Regina (Jerry) Corvin.
Mary founded Rhea of Sunshine, a non-profit organization to serve handicapped adults in November 1985. She served as Chairman of the Board until May 2013 as Rhea of Sunshine expanded to serve the disabled in community-based work programs and the building of seven supported living homes for clients. This was her proudest and greatest accomplishment for her Down syndrome son, Roby, to attend the workshop.
She served as the first chairman on the Tennessee Fourth District Family Support Board from 1990 to 1995 and remained active for many years. In addition, she served on the Joe Johnson Mental Health Advisor Board from 1990 to 2004, and she served on the Rhea County Health Council, and the Rhea County Inter-Agency Boards. She was active with the Rhea County United Way and received the Chase Wilson Volunteer Award in 2003. She is listed as a member in the National Register’s Who’s Who in Executive and Professionals 2003-2004 edition. In March 2004, the Governing Board of Editors of the
ABI selected Mary for her humanitarian dedication in the edition of Great Women of the 21st Century. Her and her husband Donnie were members of the Brady Williams American Legion Post 100 and Auxiliary,
and she served as secretary/treasurer for several years. In recognition of her founding of Rhea of
Sunshine and community volunteer involvement, she was honored with a city proclamation in 2015, naming July 27 as Mary Katherine Hill Travis Day.
Visitation at Coulter-Garrison Funeral Home Monday, May 3, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Private family mass at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Dayton, TN. Burial immediately following at Buttram Cemetery.