Mary F. Van Ooyen

Mary F. Van Ooyen

Mary F. Van Ooyen
January 11, 1928 – August 26, 2017
Oskaloosa, Iowa | Age 89

Mary Francis Van Ooyen, 89, of Oskaloosa, died Saturday, August 26, 2017, at Crystal Heights Care Center in Oskaloosa. The daughter of Andrew and Helen Boston Brower, she was born January 11, 1928, in Mahaska County.

Mary graduated from Oskaloosa High School in 1946, and worked in the business office at the Oskaloosa Herald.

On September 19, 1951, she married Peter J. Van Ooyen in Leighton, Iowa.

Following their marriage, she continued to work at the Herald until their daughter, Jeanie, was born in 1964. She stayed home fulltime until Jeanie started kindergarten, and then worked at Mathew Carpet in Oskaloosa before taking a job as a teller at what was then Home Loan Bank (now Great Southern). She greeted everyone who came in the bank by name, welcoming customers with her beautiful smile. Though she retired in 1998, she returned to the bank part-time—she was the only employee there who knew how to balance the books by hand!

Mary was never one to sit idle. She and her husband enjoyed ballroom dancing and bowling. Every few years, they traveled to meet up with the members of his U.S. Army unit, the 8th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. At home, they were proud of their garden, where they grew vegetables including corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and onions. She spent late summer and fall canning and preserving, and made homemade pickles and homemade grape jelly every year. A talented knitter, she enjoying creating beautiful afghans for family and friends; she also refinished furniture with her daughter and played a mean game of Cards Against Humanity.

Mary was a member of the Central United Methodist Church in Oskaloosa, where she was active in the Friendship Circle of the U.M.W. She believed in giving back, and volunteered at the Mahaska Hospital Gift Shop. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi, and often served as treasurer for nonprofit organizations due to her skill with numbers. (She insisted on balancing her checkbook to the penny every month.)

Mary was a lifelong cat lover, and her three cats, KC, Cougar and Bebe, were her constant companions. But she was most devoted to her grandchildren, Hannah, 22, and Sam, 19. She mastered Facebook at the age of 82 to keep up with their lives and printed out every photo Jeanie took of them to save at home.

When her grandchildren were little, they knew to expect Mary to arrive with a suitcase of “surprises,” little gifts she gave each of them for every day of her visit. Every summer, the family gathered at Lake Lida, where they stayed in the same cabin and spent their vacation fishing, swimming, and making memories. When asked, Hannah and Sam always said they would rather go to “Grandma’s Lake” than Disneyworld.

Mary’s family includes her daughter, Jeanie (& John) Crowley of Downers Grove, Illinois; her grandchildren: Hannah Crowley and Sam Crowley; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She is also survived by the Perdue/Foster clan, her supportive, wonderful neighbors of 60 years and many dear friends.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband Pete; her parents; and two brothers, John Brower and Frank Brower.

Funeral services will be held Friday, September 1, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in the Central United Methodist Church in Oskaloosa, with Reverend Bruce Wittern officiating.
Burial will be in the Evergreen Cemetery near Leighton.
Visitation will begin Thursday, August 31, after 11:00 a.m. in the Bates Funeral Chapel; the family will be at the funeral chapel from 5:00-7:00 p.m. to greet friends and relatives.
Memorials may be made to MHP Hospice Serenity House or Stephen’s Memorial Animal Shelter.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Mary F. Van Ooyen please visit the Bates Funeral Chapel Sympathy Store.

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