Mary Lou Fehrenbacher, 86, of Robinson, devoted and beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by family on Monday, February 26, 2018, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 3rd at the St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Robinson with Father James Flach in charge of services. Graveside services will be conducted at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Newton. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 2nd at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. The Meyer funeral home in Newton is in charge of the arrangements.
Born February 12, 1932, in Ponca City, OK she was the daughter of the late Clarence Leroy (“Roy”) and Chloe Jacobs Ulmer. Her family lived in Oklahoma and Kansas for several years while her father worked for the Texaco and Pure Oil companies and her mother taught grade school before eventually settling in West Liberty, IL.
She is survived by her high school sweetheart and husband of 66 years Albert, son Craig of Robinson, daughter Julia Andert (Gerard) of Bridgeton, MO, son David (Jenny) of Collierville, TN, and daughter Valerie Chapman (Scott) of Robinson, 12 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her son, Dr. Kim Fehrenbacher, M.D. (Patti) in September 2012 and sister Estaline Larrson in April 1996.
Mary Lou graduated from Newton Community High School in Newton, IL in 1950 as the class salutatorian and studied music at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. She and Albert met when Mary Lou was playing the piano and Albert was playing the cornet in the Newton dance band. They were married August 30, 1952, at the Methodist Church in Olney, IL and lived briefly in Bayonne, NJ where Albert was stationed as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves. They were soon re-assigned to the island of Guam where they lived for 18 months where their son Kim was born. They later moved to Newton and then to Robinson in 1956.
Like her mother, Mary Lou was a long-time member of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Association). She was initiated into Chapter FN Newton of the P.E.O. sisterhood in 1957 and Chapter IG in Robinson in 1957. She served as Chapter president and as a delegate to the International P.E.O. Convention in Atlanta, GA in 1993. Mary Lou remained active in and committed to the organization for over 60 years. She was a member of the Methodist Church in West Liberty where she played the piano and organ. She was later a member of Robinson’s St. Elizabeth Catholic Church for over 60 years and played the piano and organ at the church for 55 years. Mary Lou also played the organ during the radio mass for a few years at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in St. Marie, Illinois. Mary Lou performed volunteer work for Robinson’s Crawford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Clothing Center and Food Pantry.
As a teenager, Mary Lou worked as a nanny for an Olney, IL doctor and in the office of the town’s Calvert Oil Drilling Company. She and Albert later co-owned and operated Robinson’s Dog ‘n Suds drive-in restaurant for 38 years with Mary Lou maintaining the accounting records. In the early years of the business, and in addition to being the mother of five children, she sold Tupperware products out of their home.
Mary Lou was an accomplished piano and organ player having begun playing both since the age of five. She was also an excellent seamstress and amazing cook who enjoyed knitting, gardening, square dancing and playing bridge and other card and board games with Albert, the kids, grandkids, and friends. She also enjoyed traveling the country with the family first by tent and then by pop-up trailer with a hotel thrown in on certain occasions. She and Albert also visited several other countries in their later years.
In loving memory of Mary Lou, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.