Dr. Mary Joan Nix "Mary Jo" or "Doctor Kelly", age 75, a resident of Baton Rouge, passed away on May 16, 2023.
Mary Jo graduated from St. Anthony High school in 1965 as class valedictorian; and from Louisiana State University, where she received a EdD, a Master of Education, a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University in 1980, 1973, and 1970, respectively. For her postgraduate certification, she received the National Board-Certification for Librarians.
As an educator of East and West Baton Rouge Parish for 50 years, she taught at Northwestern Middle School in Zachary, Baton Rouge Sr. High School, Broadmoor Sr. High School, and Tara Sr. High School. She served as school Principal for St. Isidore Middle for three years spending her remaining educational career as a Librarian for Holy Family Catholic School, Port Allen, Park Forest Elementary, Dufroc Elementary Magnet, and McKinley Sr. Magnet School retiring in her 50th year. She was an active member of several Teachers Associations serving at local, state, and national levels: EBRPAE, LAE, and NEA. As the Historian for EBRPAE Association, she also served as President during the 1980 merger. Mary Jo was a member of the Louisiana Library Association, a non-Public School commission member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
As a writer, in addition to free-lance writing she has authored numerous articles, journal publications and book reviews. She moonlighted as a writer and producer for “The Video Company,” with Lonnie Hunter and Wayne White, a cable hosted video magazine series was aired, titled “Weekend” featuring local leisure activities throughout Louisiana.
As an avid reader from childhood and throughout her life, she incorporated this passion for “Bringing Books to Life” with parish wide performances appearing as the “Book Doctor” for Children’s Storytelling. She also participated in numerous theatrical productions both on and off stage; performing in Aubin Lane Dinner Theater’s, “Carnival,” “You're a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Westside Story,” “Guys and Dolls” and numerous school productions throughout the EBRP Parish; and serving as faculty Drama Club Sponsor hosting several productions during her time at Tara High.
Always having a passion for the arts, Mary Jo loved Renaissance Festivals, and held many cherished memories attending with her family. In her free time she also loved listening to live music, and always enjoyed supporting local musicians and artists.
Additionally, she employed her Doctorial Specialty in Educational Media, serving as faculty sponsor for Tara High’s Yearbook, Literary Magazine, and WELU Radio Station.
Over many years she received numerous awards and honors listed among Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American education, Who's Who in American Women, Who's Who in South and Southwest, Who's Who in Finance and Business and Phi Beta Kappa.
She was a long-time active member and chairman of administration commission of her Church Parish, St Aloysius Catholic Church.
Mary Jo was an active member in Krewe of Southdown's and was the 2015 Queen, also active in Spanish Town Mardi Gras, Duchess of Krewe of Bierbog, a founding member of STLA, Spanish Town Ladies Auxiliary, and longtime member of the Baton Rouge Irish Club. She was a sorority member of Alpha Chi Omega.
Survived by husband, Karl Joseph Nix; daughter, Patricia Lynn Kelly Woodworth and son in-law Brett Strother Woodworth; siblings: Karen Wilkes Guillory, Georgette "Ann" Wilkes Pruett and husband Troy, Theodore McKowen Wilkes Jr. and wife Terri, Timothy Michael Wilkes Sr. and wife Diann; Siblings by marriage: Lorretta Walker, Madonna Nix, Kurt Nix, and Cindy Collins; grandchildren, William John Woodworth and Kathryn-Patricia Alexandra Woodworth; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by father, Theodore McKowen Wilkes Sr.; mother, Patricia Faul Wilkes; brother, James Wilkes “Jimmy,”; mother-in-law, Rosemary Nix; two prior husbands, John Richard Kelly Sr. and William Archie Horn; brothers by marriage, Paul Nix and Leo Nix; and nephew, Seth Nix.
Visiting hours will take place at St. Aloysius Catholic Church on May 27th from 9am to 11am followed by Funeral Mass at 11 am. Interment to follow on June 3rd at Resthaven at 10am.
Pallbearers will be Brett Woodworth, William Woodsworth, Mark Woodworth, Chris Woodworth, Josh Bogaerts, Charles Sutton. Honorary pallbearers: Wayne Paul Woodworth, Tim Wilkes Sr., and Ted Wilkes Jr.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Foundation for Children’s Literacy, Little Libraries, or Louisiana Libraries in her name.
The family of Mary Jo wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Levron, Dr. Elipiidi, staff of Baton Rouge General, Baton Rouge Cancer Service, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, and her many STLA Sisters for their deeply appreciated assistance, service, and support.
Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note to the family at www.resthavenbatonrouge.com