Mary Lee

AAF District 7; Creative Director at Frontier Strategies

Mary was an incredible talent when it came to writing, editing, proofreading and most of all, developing creative ideas for advertising. She would frequently say that her best advertising ideas would come to her while she was in the shower.

She did not care much for exclamation points, and she was a self-proclaimed member of the Apostrophe Police to ensure the correct grammar usage for plural, possessive or plural possessive. While she would not have wanted to write her own obituary, Mary definitely would have preferred to proofread it.

Mary liked church signs that displayed funny sayings. She had a crush on Paul McCartney. She was an excellent cook and made a wonderful pecan pie. She was also a big fan of Dak Prescott. Mary once owned a bright, lime green Volkswagen beetle. She liked to use the number "439" to intentionally exaggerate something (as in, "I've seen that commercial 439 times on TV.") As a true Southerner, she went by many nicknames including Queen Mary, Mary Lou, and Miss Mary.

Mary was a very patriotic person who loved her state and country. She did not like hateful or mean-spirited politics by either party. She enjoyed retelling a story about when she met then-President George W. Bush who told her she was "cute." She believed people were getting too serious about everything. She wished people would lighten up and take a joke without getting so bent out of shape all the time.

Mary was a native of Jackson and was born February 15, 1954. She was the daughter of the late Minor C. Sumners, Sr. and Louise Nichols Sumners. Mrs. Lee was a longtime member of Northminster Baptist Church where she was very active and served in numerous capacities. She was a wonderful, compassionate, and kind person. Beyond her extraordinary artistic talents and creative exceptionalism, she was a devoted Christian whose intentions and actions reflected her sincere appreciation, care, and love for others.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Joseph B. Lee, and her brother, Minor C. "Sonny" Sumners, Jr.

She is survived by her daughters, Jane Ann Lee Wright (J. Stephen) and Christian Lee; grandchildren, Nicholas Butler (Deanna), Forrest Butler (Madison), Judson Wright (Kaitlin), Noah Butler, and Katherine Wright; step grandchildren, Daniel Wright (Abbey), Michael Wright (Dana), and Nathan Wright (Heidi); 10 great grandchildren; and a host of other relatives, treasured colleagues, and many friends whom she adored. She loved animals and will be missed by her beloved pets: Precious, Annie, Little Belle, and Rafa.

She attended Mississippi State University and held a B.A. degree in Journalism and Advertising from Texas Christian University. During her career, she helped craft brand personalities and brand strategies for many kinds of companies, large and small, as well as developing marketing plans and marketing budgets. She managed a 115-member creative staff at ABD Group in Chicago, Illinois; served as Marketing Creative Director for Express, a division of The Limited, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio; worked as Creative Director and Partner at Corporate Image, Ltd., in Dallas, Texas; and served as Copy Chief for Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. She worked at the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi and was a key leader in developing successful advertising campaigns to reduce teenage smoking in the state. Since 2004, she worked as the Creative Director and an Account Executive with Frontier Strategies in Ridgeland where she will be deeply missed by her "work family." In 2006, she was named one of Mississippi's 50 Leading Business Women. In 2010, she was named AAF District 7 President of the Year. Lee was the recipient of the American Advertising Federation-Jackson Silver Medal Award in 2012 and AAF District 7's Otis Dodge Memorial Award. Mary Lee was currently serving as the Immediate Past Chair of the American Advertising Federation National Council of Governors.

Recipient, 2022 Pat Martin Excellence in District Leadership Award Award

Last Updated: May 2022