Mary Evalyn (Ducky Barnes) Albright, 88, died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, December 27, 2022, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease at her home in Dallas, Texas. The daughter of Cecil and Marylee (Payne) Barnes, granddaughter of early Crockett and Val Verde ranchers Louella Riggins and Windrow Payne, and cousin to the late Steve Kenley, Ducky was born in 1934 in San Angelo, Texas. She graduated from San Angelo High School in 1952 and never missed a reunion with her fellow graduates over the years. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Stephens College in 1954 and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Missouri for English and Philosophy in 1956. She was a member of the Tri Delta sorority. She later did graduate work in English Literature at the University of Toledo until the birth of the first of her four children in 1958. Ducky enjoyed freelance work writing words and music for TV & Radio spots for Tracy-Locke in the 1960s and ‘70s and later worked as a Reporter/Editor at The Dallas Morning News, writing engaging and entertaining stories in the Special Sections. She also worked as a freelance writer/editor/researcher for several magazines in the 1980s.
Ducky was a musician and lover of music. She played the guitar, piano, and sometimes the fiddle. She listened to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor so loud it rattled the windows and, with equal measure, would listen to Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” Over the years, Ducky and her sister, Becky, and brother, Marcus, would play music together and sing with their children in the music room of their childhood home, with their mother, Mary B, looking on. However, it was her rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” that would often quiet the room.
Ducky had an insatiable appetite for literature. She consumed books and then shared her passion for all different types of writers with her friends, children, and grandchildren. Her range included Joan Didion, John Updike, and Ray Bradbury. She was also an enormous fan of photographers like Diane Arbus and Bill Owens, which ignited a passion for photography in her son Jimmy, who made a career out of it. Ducky loved movies. Many friends and family have fond memories of sitting with her at the Inwood Theater in Dallas, watching everything from “The Sound of Music” to Altman’s “Nashville” to one of her all-time favorites, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951). Klaatu barada nikto.
Ducky loved to walk. She especially loved walking the mesquite and cedar-dotted hills and caliche roads of her beloved family ranch in West Texas. She had an unabashed sense of humor, winning over her dedicated and patient caregivers in the last years of her life. Her family will be forever grateful for the professional and loving care they gave to her.
Mary Albright is survived by her sister, Rebecca Ricci of San Angelo, Texas; her son, Jim Albright Jr. and Gabi Albright of Schwabach, Germany; her three daughters: Becca Cole and Greg Cole of Frisco, Texas, Rachel Albright of Woodland Hills, Calif., Naida Albright and Eric Bergez of Woodland Hills, Calif.; sister-in-law-Cheryl Albright Teeter; her four nieces: Jennifer Worsham, Melinda Barnes, Laura Ricci, Lori Palmer James; one nephew Bruce Palmer; her eight grandchildren: Dominik Albright, Jonas Albright, Rachel Cole, Sarah Cole, Coleman Albright, Walker Graham, Declan Graham, Sully Graham; and her old friend, Bulgeenta.