Former National Council on Disability member, Mary Ann Mobley Collins, died Tuesday in Beverly Hills, California due to complications from breast cancer. She was 77. Mobley had Crohn's disease, and in 2009, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Funeral services will be held Monday, December 15, in Jackson, Mississippi.
A trailblazer in numerous ways, Mary Ann was the first Miss America from Mississippi and the first woman ever to be voted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame. She turned to acting following her tenure as Miss America in 1959. In addition to acting in numerous films - including two with Elvis Presley – she appeared on many hit television series including Diff’rent Strokes and Falcon Crest and was a guest star in more than one hundred comedy and dramatic television series.
Mary Ann served as a member of the National Council on Disability for five years in the early 1990s. She was also a member of SHARE, Inc., a Los Angeles-based women's organization that has raised over six million dollars for what was called the Exceptional Children's Foundation for the Mentally Retarded and was involved with the March of Dimes for over two decades including a stint on their board of trustees. In addition, she served as the National Chairman of the Mother's March Against Birth Defects. Mobley Collins was a member of the Board of The National Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
In her home state, Mary Ann helped raise funds for the Willowood Foundation which provided homes for young adults with mental and physical learning disabilities. One of the homes is called the Mary Ann Mobley/Gary Collins Group Home. The Mary Ann Mobley Pediatric Wing at the-Rankin General Hospital in her hometown of Brandon was also named after her.
The members and staff of the National Council on Disability honor Mary Ann's commitment and service to people with disabilities and extend our heartfelt sympathies to her loved ones during this time.