On November 6, 2023, Mary Elizabeth Ybarrondo Tull died peacefully in the bedroom of her home, built by her beloved father, where she had lived for 60 years. She was born on May 7, 1932, to Ethert C. (Bud) and Mayme Lopez Ybarrondo in San Diego, California. She graduated from Cathedral Girls High School and attended San Diego State University. While a student, she was an avid sailor, even though she never learned to swim, and she became an expert handyperson, following in the footsteps of her father, a builder. While in college, she went on a blind date with a Naval officer from Arkansas, even though she was not allowed to date servicemen. A family friend told her there were two nice young men from Arkansas—one was rich, and one was good looking—“but you don’t have to marry either one.” She was often heard to say she “was not sure which one she got.” She and John Earle Tull Jr. eloped and were married on September 7, 1952, in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were married for sixty-two years until his death in 2014.
Mary moved sight unseen to Lonoke, Arkansas, after the wedding. As they drove into town, her husband pointed out the Riceland Rice Lonoke grain dryer, which he identified as the Lonoke Motel and Restaurant with dancing on the rooftop every Saturday night. She kept the books for J.E. Tull & Son seed business and managed the home, where she was an attentive mom to her three children. Mom had a wicked sense of humor and was a champion teaser. She could arch her left eyebrow in displeasure, which stopped her children and grandchildren in their tracks. She loved to play cards, Scrabble, and any other game, and she never let a child or grandchild win unless they earned it. She loved to rock her grandchildren and teach them “Inky Pea,” a treasured family rhyme. She trained her Great Danes and Bullmastiffs by simply shaking a rolled-up newspaper section at them, and they followed her wherever she went.
In 1993, Mary and John began a new adventure when they moved to Washington D.C. after he was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She loved her time in Washington D.C. and most of all loved her time serving as a volunteer in the East Wing of the White House, where she worked directly with the National Archives Museum, ensuring special moments of the Clinton administration were properly recorded. She also enjoyed treating children and grandchildren to visits to the White House. Mary and John moved back to Lonoke in 1999. After their return, they traveled frequently to Europe but never missed a Razorback home football game.
Mrs. Tull was a devoted member of the Lonoke Presbyterian Church for many years and later became a member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock. She was an avid volunteer in her community, working with the PTA and Welcome Wagon and participating in several Lonoke clubs. Her volunteerism stretched beyond Lonoke, as she served on the Board of the Florence Crittenton Home and as a faithful volunteer with CARTI.
Mrs. Tull was preceded in death by her husband, John Earle Tull, Jr.; her parents; a sister, Bonnie Ybarrondo Tweed; a grandson, John E. (Jake) Tull, IV; a great granddaughter, Lucy Grace Landers; a nephew, Robert M. Tweed; and a niece, Kathleen Tweed Kennedy. Mrs. Tull is survived by her three children, Betsy and husband Ben G. Landers of Germantown, TN; Mary and husband Johnnie W. Baker of Raymond, MS; and John E. Tull, III and wife Martha of Little Rock, AR; by her niece Bonnie L. Tweed and nephew Timothy Tweed of San Diego, CA; by her nieces Rosalind (Shorty) Brown of Stuttgart, AR and Diane (Didge) Powell of Tonto Basin, AZ; by her grandchildren, William Conner Eldridge, Jr. and wife Mary Elizabeth of Fayetteville, AR; Benton G. Landers, Jr. and wife Courtney of Austin TX; Catherine E. Curley and husband Mike of Vero Beach, FL; Nicholas Tull Landers of St. Petersburg, FL; Mary Frances Landers Brock and husband Martin of Germantown TN; Preston Tull Eldridge of Little Rock, AR; Kathryn Tull and husband Sam Kauffman of Little Rock, AR; and Elizabeth Laine (Ella) Tull of Little Rock, AR; and by her great grandchildren, William Conner Eldridge, III, Henry Ross Eldridge, and Andrews Tull Eldridge of Fayetteville, AR; John Eldridge Curley and Christopher Strong Curley of Vero Beach FL; Thomas Rolfe Eldridge and John Murphy Eldridge of Little Rock, AR; Benton G. (Tripp) Landers III and Emma Grace Landers of Austin TX; and Elizabeth Blaire Brock of Germantown, TN.
The family wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to our extended family, JoAnn Harris, Jennifer Sharpe, and Chasity Dedmon, and our Hospice angels, Kathy Connett and Dawn Conley, for the loving care they provided for the last fourteen years. A private burial service will be held in Lonoke. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Jake Tull Memorial Endowed Scholarship, University of the Ozarks, 415 N. College Avenue, Clarksville, AR 72830.
Arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home, Lonoke.