Mary Beth Dautreuil burst onto the scene in all her naked glory on November 11, 1965, in New Iberia, LA.
Likely, you did not know you were given a gift that day; she’d get to you soon enough. Her formative years were spent just a stone’s throw from where Tabasco sauce is made. She liked to tell you that when you asked her, “Where in the hell is New Iberia?” From the day she took her first breath until the day she took her last, Mary Beth found merriment and mischief often. She loved a good caper, the kind you thanked your lucky stars you agreed to when she asked you to join. You remembered and laughed about it with her for years.
She spent her impressionable teen years in the loving yet strict presence of the nuns at Mt. Carmel Academy. She was the belle of the class and beloved by classmates. Particularly, her way to get out of all sorts of good trouble. She was rarely on time to class and when she was, it was cause for celebration.
Mary Beth attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana (Boldly, Happily, Faithfully) and followed her heart to Texas where she attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. She firmly planted her heart in her adopted home state when she moved to Houston in 1986.
After trading in her college days for grownup life in Houston, Mary Beth pursued three things: friends, fun, and financial security, in that order. Mary was a salesperson’s salesperson. She could sell anything not nailed down, but sometimes that too. She was a jack-of-all-trades and earned her paychecks by following her interests and figuring out how to make them work for her. In no particular order, those interests included the food and beverage service industry, household window installation, payroll services, perfumed stationery, painting, and metal art, and real estate. She excelled at all but kept her eye on the horizon.
An avid collector of all things garage sale, Mary Beth frequently envisioned potential in cast-off bits and pieces that she reconfigured and painted into something special, giving it new life, long before HGTV DIY or flea market flip shows hit the scene. In typical MB fashion, she was ahead of her time not only with changing junk into art, but in her inventions. She invented everything that is, long before it was. She never got credit for any of it, unfortunately. She was beat to market on wheels on coolers, my paint pal, and myriad ad campaigns she brilliantly created.
She wasn’t all joy and sunshine, mind you, she hated pretzels and refused to touch cotton balls.
In 2007, Mary Beth moved to Austin, where she pursued a successful career in real estate and enjoyed her love of Texas in the hill country.
She loved animals and adored her dogs: Scooter, Sophie, Vinnie, Elliott, and Ladybird Johnson. She loved your dogs too. She enjoyed music, but laughter was the soundtrack of her life. At her core, Mary was an artist. Her life was her masterpiece but she also created many works of art that her friends hold dear; she was a painter, a sculptor, a can-can dancer, an actor, a musician (no one ever played the rake better), a whirlwind of ideas that never ceased. Yoko Ono once sent her a letter complimenting a piece of sculpture Mary Beth created. That was a good day.
Most of all, Mary Beth was joy. There is no other way to describe her. She was as silly as cotton candy, she never met a stranger, was the fiercest advocate, a vault-secure confidant, the side splitting-est joke ever told, a cartwheel of magic and light across your life. Her friends are legion, and family was her muse.
Mary Beth left us to mourn the loss of her sparkling presence on January 4, 2021. She loved so many, and so many loved her. A fire once lit never truly goes out.
Predeceased by her father, Oscar J “Red” Dautreuil, mother, Gladys Rita Clements Dautreuil, and brother, Russel Dautreuil.
Mary Beth is survived by Russel Dautreuil’s children, Jason and Vanessa; sister Sandy Dautreuil Jackson, and husband Bill of Spring, TX, their daughters, Melanie Jackson Pharr and husband David, Kelly Jackson, and son, Billy Jackson and wife Ashley; brother Andy Dautreuil and his wife Marion, of St. Martinville, LA, and their son, Dylan; and her great nieces and nephews, Emma and Charlie Pharr, Raegan and Aubrey Jackson, Lucas Sligar, and Kasey, Luke and Blake Dautreuil.
A service for Mary Beth will take place in New Iberia, LA, at a later date. A celebration of Mary Beth’s life will take place in Houston, TX, at a later date.
In lieu of customary remembrances, please consider a donation in Mary Beth’s name to the Rescued Pets Movement in Houston, TX, or Austin Animal Center in Austin, TX, or a charitable organization of your choice.