Following the death of former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, the 90-year-old NFL coach was survived by a fairly large family, including not least of which, his wife Mary Anne, as well as his five children: Donna, Sharon, Dave, Anne, and Mike. The pair had been married in 1993, kicking off what would be a lengthy 26-year union, after both of them had previously been married to other partners. But with Don's death currently in the spotlight, it's time to get to know his family better.
Don passed away on Monday, May 4 at 90 years old, according to the Miami Herald. Though his immediate cause of death was unknown, it was apparently unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic. But for all his accomplishments, he's always had his wife Mary Anne by his side. Let's take a look at Don's relationship with his wife as well as his children out of respect for a sports legend. He will certainly be remembered in the hearts of Miami Dolphins and sports fans across the world for years to come.
Who is Don Shula's wife Mary Anne Stephens?
Mary Anne Stephens and Don Shula originally met in 1992 during a New Year's Day parade at Indian Creek Island, Fla. Don had been a widower for a year after losing his first wife Dorothy Bartish in 1991 to breast cancer. Mary Anne and Don began dating in the spring of 1992, then officially married in 1993. Don was Mary Anne's fourth husband at the time. The pair were happily married until Don's death, so they had many fruitful years from their union.
Mary Anne Stephens wasn't a Florida native. She actually grew up in Arkansas to a soybean and cotton farmer father and nurse and Bible teacher mother. According to former Coal Hill, Ark. mayor and family friends Ben Yates, she was part of a poor family. But that didn't keep her from organizing fundraisers for charity over the course of her life, including one for a national learning center at the University of the Ozarks that ended up raising $28 million in funds.
Mary Anne had previously been married to John Maddox Smith at 18 and James Keller at 24. She later married Jackson Stephens, divorcing him in 1991. From these unions, she had a two sons and a daughter. Don brought five children into the marriage by way of deceased wife Dorothy Bartish: Dave, Donna, Sharon, Anne, and Mike. Mary Anne and Don had no biological children together, but they were a large, happy family all the way up 'til his death.
Don was reportedly very happy in his marriage to Mary Anne, according to Sports Illustrated. "Shula and Stephens smooch in public, hold hands at the dinner table and nibble off each other’s plates," the magazine wrote of the couple. Mary Anne's sister Colleen echoed this sentiment, calling the pair "blissfully happy." It looks like even though Don has passed away, wife Mary Anne and the rest of the family will have plenty of happy memories together.