Mary Lou Cheatham

Mary Lou Cheatham

Mary Lou Gregg Cheatham (born 1943) grew up on a farm in south Mississippi. Her childhood home was on Gregg Hill, up the road from Gravel Hill, about midway between Taylorsville and Hot Coffee. She is the youngest of five children. Her parents were subsistence farmers, who gave their children an honorable work ethic. Mary never knew she was poor. The farm was rich in a variety of healthy foods, and Myrtle, her mother, sewed like a pro. The first two years of her schooling, she read her lessons by a coal oil lamp. Her parents instilled in her a love of learning. When she brought home books from the school library, her father could read most of them in one sitting. Her mother loved to read aloud while Mary ironed the clothes. Throughout her adult life, she has enrolled in college classes. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and history from the University of Southern Mississippi She also has an associate’s degree in nursing from Louisiana Tech University. She took classes at Millsaps College, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and Hinds Community College because going to school was fun. From the fifth grade, she wanted a profession as a writer, among others. First she worked as a teacher and then as a registered nurse. Her late husband, Robert, was a trumpet virtuoso, who taught music at Louisiana Tech University. She has one daughter, Christie, who has a PhD in dairy nutrition. With so many activities, Mary didn’t find time to start writing seriously until 2005. At Christmas 2015, she plans to marry her beloved best friend, John Cooke, a retired petroleum land man, lover of good books, art aficionado, and outstanding musician. A member of Panhandle Professional Writers in Amarillo Texas and of American Christian Fiction Writers, she has served as a judge in the ACFW Carol Awards Contest. Three of her novels—The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson, The Dream Bucket, and Abi of Cyrene—have won awards.

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