Mary's Story

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Mary Eleanor Strecker, age 94, passed away Sept. 15, 2017, at Heartland Health Care Center in Whitehall, Mich., with her husband and family at her bedside following a 15 year bout with Alzheimer's Disease. She was born in Montague, Mich., to Mabel (Staff) Stewart and William Rufus Stewart on June 21, 1923.
She graduated from Montague High School in 1941 and then Hackley Hospital School of Nursing in 1945. Following her RN degree, she worked as a staff nurse at Illinois Research (University of Illinois) Hospital in Chicago. Mary married William Louis Strecker from Paris, Ill., on June 27, 1946, in Montague. They lived in Chicago until her husband finished his education in 1949. Then, they moved to Terre Haute, Ind., where her husband practiced medicine for 50 years. For a few years, she worked in his medical practice - but her primary effort was in raising her seven children. Mary was devoted to their care and welfare, and was a wonderful mother. She handled the care alone of her first four children while her husband was in Korea for a year.
Mary was active in community affairs in Terre Haute, attending all Vigo County School Board meetings and local political Cracker Barrel Sessions. She was a founding member of HELP (Housewives' Effort for Local Progress) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Terre Haute Day Nursery which had been established for low income and single mothers. She was active in Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon and focusing primarily on the Mother's Resource Program that assisted single mothers. She was also a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Terre Haute Country Club and Wabash Valley Power Squadron. Mary was an avid and expert downhill skier, skiing at many Michigan and Western U.S. ski resorts, but her favorite areas were Boyne Mountain, Mich., and Big Sky, Mont. She also loved boating with her husband - cruising the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Great Lakes and the canals of Canada. After her husband's retirement, they moved near her birthplace of Montague and built their retirement home, Woodside By The Dune, near the shores of Lake Michigan. Every day at their new home, Mary and her husband toasted Another Day in Paradise until the ravages of Alzheimer's took her joy of life.
Mary is survived by her husband, Dr. William L. Strecker; her seven children, William L. (Jane) Strecker Jr., Kathleen Marie Francis, Elizabeth Ann Kinder, Mary Patricia (John) Ledyard, John Robert (Audrey) Strecker, Rebecca Suzanne (Mark) Freeland, Martha Jean (Joseph) Sadony; 14 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; and her Harbor Hospice Angels, Tracy, Paula, Char and Pam. Her final days of wonderful care were spent at Heartland Health Care Center in Whitehall.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Mabel and William Stewart; and Mabel's second husband, George Hanson Sr.; brothers, Bill and John Stewart; first grandchild, Kristin Anderson; and son-in-law, Ray Francis.
A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at Montague United Methodist Church, 8555 Cook St., Montague, with Pastor Michael Riegler officiating. Visitation will take place from 5 to 7 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, at Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service, 413 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall, and also one hour prior to the start of the service at the church on Saturday. Interment will take place at Oak Grove Cemetery in Montague.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be sent to Montague United Methodist Church or Harbor Hospice of Muskegon and can be sent to the funeral home at 413 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall, MI, 49461.
Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service, White Lake Chapel, is in charge of arrangements. Contact online at:
Published on September 19, 2017
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