Mardi's story in a "Nutshell":
Martha Ann Miles joined her earthly family on July 27, 1949, the second daughter of Donna Jean and Everett K. Miles and the baby sister of Gala Sue, 22 months her senior. Martha and Gala were joined by baby brother Gary K. 13 months later.
Martha grew into a beautiful little girl with the biggest brown eyes in Fort Worth. Her dad called her Little Moo-Cow Eye, until she asked him not to when she was about six or seven.
Mardi was generous to a fault from early childhood. By third grade, she had brought home and shared Mumps, Chicken Pox and two types of Measles. She also had her greedy side, though, she kept the so-called three-day or German measles for two weeks and the Red Measles for six weeks. Gary and Gala got through them in the requisite three days and two weeks respectively. In junior high school Martha decided her name sounded too much like an old maid, so she changed it first to Marty—with a “y,” then to Marti—with an “i,” and by the time she got to high school, it had become Mardi with a “d-i.”
Mardi was quite a good pianist as a kid, but was VERY shy; she HATED recitals, so only her family knew how well she could play. At Arlington Heights High School, she sang in the school chorus and was selected to sing alto in the girls’ sextet, making her older sister REALLY envious.
After high school, Mardi spent a couple of semesters at Stephen F. Austin, but decided college was not for her. She put her high school-acquired business skills and inborn sense of organization to work. Moving to Austin, Texas, she shared an apartment with Gala, trying to bring some Preppy balance into her crazy Hippy sister’s daily life. Mardi went to work as secretary to the Director of the Brackenridge Hospital School of Nursing. Eventually, she moved back home and went to work in the Medical Records department of John Peter Smith Hospital, but soon moved into the Medical Education as a secretary, first in the Pediatrics Department and then on to Orthopedics Department.
Mardi’s secretarial and organization skills took her to a career that included employment in a real estate brokerage, legal secretary at a life and health company and other health insurance businesses, as administrative assistant to a businessman and private investor (her favorite). She also spent time as a legal secretary in the Transport Life Insurance Company’s Compliance department and as an executive assistant to Garland Lasater and his wife, Molly Lasater. They loved her so much Mr. Lasater offered to create a nursery in their private office, so she could bring her baby Ethan to the office, if she would just continue to work for them after he was born. Later in her career, she worked several years at Dyncorp, a large government contractor and served as administrative assistant in the Human Resources Department.
During her career, Mardi met and married Charles Russell Zeeb, a tall, handsome New York transplant, in 1979. Rusty and Mardi produced two wonderful sons, Zachary Russell and Ethan Everett. In 1995, Mardi, Rusty and the boys realized their dream to build a home in the country, where they had five acres to roam (and mow). They also enjoyed several July trips to Cape Cod to spend time with Rusty’s mother and extended family. Mardi filled their home with good cooking, good friends and LOTS of glass and ceramic chickens. Sadly, Zachary died in December 2004 in a traffic accident at the age of 23.
In addition to the loss of Zach, Mardi’s main challenges in life were a back injury which led to five pieces of steel in her back and fearsome migraines; the death of her dad in July 2005 and mom in December 2010. She fought an ever more difficult battle with COPD and emphysema the last several years. Also, a dentist’s botched attempt to install dental implants resulted in a massive infection of her jaw and skull, leaving her without teeth and without the ability to wear any dentures. Through all but the last of these trials, she maintained a busy home and work life, collecting friends of many ages, whom she cherished. She also entertained family and friends frequently, and no one could leave without a load of food for home, a hug, and a smile and lots of silly laughter. Though she didn’t entertain much in her last year, her inner strength, her enjoyment of family, and sending funny and endearing texts kept everyone in her life connected to her indomitable spirit.
During the past several years, Mardi’s great joy was in Rusty-they achieved 42 years of marriage as of August 30th this year--and in Ethan and his precious sons, Everett, now eight years old, and Ezra, one year old last month. She was looking forward to Ethan’s wedding to a woman whose personality and qualities fulfilled Mardi and Rusty’s hopes and prayers for their son’s happiness. Kim also has a beautiful daughter, Eva.
Mardi was known to give shelter to kids who needed it for as long as they needed it and became emotionally invested in everyone, from people who did work and repairs in her home to her pharmacist and pharmacy assistants at Brookshires. She also made friends for life, because of her kindness, generosity and weird, quirky since of humor, which never left her until her last couple of days. Regardless of how she felt, she was and always will be a great treasure to family and friends. While she was on home hospice, Mardi and Gala spent time talking and reading about the scriptural descriptions of what and where heaven is. Although she left a gaping hole in many hearts, when her big, old soul left her tiny body and headed for Home, we continue to smile and laugh with our shared memories.
Celebration of Life: 2:00 p.m., Sunday, November 14, 2021 at Benbrook United Methodist Church, 1122 Bryant Street, Benbrook, Texas.76126.