January 23, 2013

Ex-Fort Worth mayor's mother, Mary Wiley Faxel, lived for adventures

“Fort Worth lost a good one,” says her son, ex-Mayor Mike Moncrief.

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FORT WORTH -- The day after the death of his mother, Mary Wiley Faxel, former Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief told this story:

One day several years ago, friends found Mrs. Faxel, who went by the name of Dee, at home in Fort Worth wearing a large cast on her leg.

"Her friends said, 'Dee, what did you do to your leg?'" Moncrief said Wednesday. "'I got in a wreck with my go-kart.' She used to race go-karts. So here are all of her prim and proper friends sitting there, looking at the cast on her leg that she broke racing go-karts.

"She said, 'The sucker cut me off.'"

That goes far to illustrate her adventurous spirit, Moncrief said.

"She had a wonderful personality," Moncrief said. "She could be as tough as nails and she could be as soft as a rose petal and anything in between. She also had a very mischievous streak. That's what made her the mom that she was."

Mrs. Faxel, 91, died at home Tuesday after a long illness.

"She was a wonderful, loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother," Moncrief said. "She leaves an empty hole. Fort Worth lost a good one."

Mary Wiley was born Oct. 8, 1921, in Houston and attended the University of Texas. She married Jack Trapp, Mike Moncrief's father, but the couple divorced when Moncrief was young.

She later married R.B. "Dick" Moncrief, who adopted her son, giving him the name of the legendary oil family.

Three more children were born to Dick and Dee Moncrief -- Richard Barto Moncrief Jr., Elizabeth Scott "Scotty" Moncrief and Lee Wiley Moncrief. Richard and Elizabeth Moncrief preceded their mother in death. Dick Moncrief died in 1970.

Mrs. Faxel served on the boards of All Saints Hospital, Goodwill Industries, Planned Parenthood and the Lena Pope Home.

"She wore her compassion on her sleeve," Mike Moncrief said.

She was an excellent shot with a rifle and loved to travel, he said.

"I don't know how many times she went to Alaska on cruises," he said. "I used to tell her that they would go out there to look at how much the same iceberg had melted from the last trip."

As a young woman, Mrs. Faxel worked at the Texas Capitol, which may have presaged Moncrief's own political involvement.

"She often said how proud she was of Rosie, my wife, and me, and the work we did for the city as mayor and first lady of Fort Worth," he said. "She loved the city so much."

Other survivors include her husband, Ralph E. Faxel; daughter Lee Wiley Moncrief; step-children Ralph E. Faxel Jr. and Tara Douglas; 11 grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.

Tim Madigan, 817-390-7544

Twitter: @tsmadigan

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