1954 - 2013

LAKELAND - Mari Fielding passed away at her home on Saturday, August 10, 2013 of heart failure. Mari was born in Lakeland, Florida July 7, 1954. Following graduation from Lakeland High School in 1972 she attended the University of Southern Mississippi on a music scholarship. She was a member of the Golden Eagles marching band where she played the coronet. She was also on the varsity tennis team. She received her Bachelors of Science and Masters in Athletic Administration and Coaching in 1978. She was a teacher and Athletic Director at Hattiesburg Preparatory School focusing on tennis and other sports. It was then that she made a decision to attend medical school. While teaching and coaching she took the prerequisites for medical school. She attended the University of Mississippi Medical School in Jackson, Mississippi where she received her Medical Degree in 1990, She then completed her surgical internship and three years of general surgery in Jackson. At that time she moved back to Lakeland to be closer to her family.
In Lakeland she practiced Geriatric medicine. She continued her love for sports and coaching. She coached numerous soccer teams for her niece and nephews. Mari continued coaching soccer at Lakeland Senior High School. She began the 2002-2003 season as assistant varsity soccer coach and as the team physician until 2009. She was the boys varsity tennis coach at Lakeland High School from 2007 to 2012. Because of vision problems she was not able to coach, but continued as an advisor. Mari was passionate about four things: her niece and nephews, her dogs, Notre Dame Football and Lakeland High School Tennis.
She was preceded in death by her parents, C.W. and Sara Fielding and her twin sister Vermelle "Melle" Fielding.
She is survived by sister Martha Fielding Richards, her brother Charles Lamar Fielding, brother in law Dr. Harley Mercer Richards, niece Morgan Elizabeth Richards and nephews Harley Mercer Richards II and Fielding Mercer Richards. Visitation will be held at Heath Funeral Chapel Tribute Center, Thursday, August 15th. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Lakeland Senior High School Tennis Team, 726 Hollingsworth Road, Lakeland, Florida 33801, where a fund will be established in her name.  - Ledger, Wed., Aug. 14, 2013

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