Mary Lou Schuiteboer
Apr 22nd 1930 - Oct 9th 2007
For some people, true love is an elusive thing, a storybook fantasy or an unfulfilled dream. Not to Mary Lou Schuiteboer. Mary Lou was a wonderful, hardworking woman, a dear mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and a friend to many. She was also a beloved wife, who was so blessed to have found the love of her life.
Mary Lou’s story began on a cool spring day in 1930, in the little town of Monette, Arkansas, not too far from Memphis, Tennessee. Those were such difficult days in this country, which had fallen into the depths of the Great Depression, affecting every American family, especially in the struggling South. Yet amid those tough times, Harry and Fruzie (Gilbert) Turner found reason to celebrate, with the birth of a beautiful baby girl, a daughter they named Mary Lou.
Mary Lou was the seventh child of nine in the large family’s home on a farm, and growing up she learned to work hard and do her fair share. It was hard work living on a farm, and Mary Lou often recalled the hot summer days she spent toiling in the fields, picking strawberries and cotton.
When she was just 17, Mary Lou met a handsome man named Ed Gwilliams, who was discharged from the Army while in Arkansas. It was love at first sight for Ed, and though he was divorced and eight years her senior, they soon began dating. Not long after, he brought Mary Lou back to his hometown of Otsego, Michigan to get married, in July of 1948.
Ed had a son named Tom, and it wasn’t long before they added their daughter Linda to the family, too. Mary Lou then found work at Parker-Hannifin in Otsego, working as a tool sharpener and inspector to help make ends meet.
After a few years, Mary Lou’s marriage to Ed ended. She continued to work at Parker-Hannifin, and raised her daughter Linda. She was a very hardworking woman, and a firm but loving parent. It wasn’t easy being a divorced mother, yet Mary Lou wasn’t meant to be alone forever.
One day in the 1960s, she met a wonderful man named Gerald Schuiteboer while in town, and the sparks flew between the two. They quickly began dating, and it didn’t take long for them to realize they were truly meant for each other. They were married on September 13, 1969, a bright, sunny fall Saturday in Otsego, beginning so many beautiful years together.
They truly were a wonderful couple, and had a wonderful marriage. Gerald brought out the best in Mary Lou, just as she did in him, and they were attached at the hip the rest of their lives. They did everything together, from cleaning the house, to working in the yard, to going for long walks and bike rides, too.
Mary Lou especially loved being out in the yard with Gerald, and loved gardening. She grew beautiful flowers and vegetables, and they did a lot of canning every year, too (especially pickles, Mary Lou’s favorite).
Mary Lou was always a creature of habit, and for many years it was always Hamburger Friday, Pizza Saturday, and Popcorn Sunday, especially when the kids were young. Later in life, they also made a point to gather together with the kids and grandkids every Sunday for dinner, a tradition they enjoyed. Mary Lou loved her grandkids dearly, and enjoyed going to their games and activities, or playing board games and card games with them, which she always enjoyed. She truly loved being a grandma, and felt fulfilled by it, too.
Mary Lou and her beloved Gerald formed their own little traditions, too. After Mary Lou retired from Parker-Hannifin after 29 years of service there, she and Gerald began spending their winters in Florida. They also took a terrific vacation together every year, too, visiting Hawaii and Las Vegas, among other fun places. Theirs was a marriage so much more than special, and such a beautiful gift to both of them.
Sadly, after Gerald died, Mary Lou’s health began to fail, and she moved to Sue’s Loving Care assisted living in Kalamazoo. She sadly died there on Tuesday, October 9, 2007, at the age of 77.
Mary Lou was a hardworking, caring woman, a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and a friend to many. Most of all, she was a beloved wife, who was so blessed to have found the love of her life, just as we were so blessed to have known her. She will be greatly missed.
Learn more about Mary Lou, view her Life Story Film, and visit with her family on Friday from 2-4 & 6-8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, RDMG, Plainwell, 120 S. Woodhams, where her service will be held on Saturday at 11 AM. Mary Lou’s family includes her daughter, Linda Lyons of Plainwell; her step-children: Tom Gwilliams of Plainwell, David Schuiteboer & Lee Franklin of Florida, Sally & John LaRoy of Alamo, and daughter-in-law Pam & Steve DeBoer of Alamo; grandchildren: Dana Goderre ,Tina Ritchie, Heather Spence, Chris LaRoy, Jennifer LaRoy, Kate Hanser, and Collin Schuiteboer; 6 great-grandchildren; and her siblings: Paul Turner of Arkansas and Hester Pancoast of Allegan. She was preceded in death by her husband Gerald, son Dirk, her son-in-law John Lyons, and her parents. Please visit Mary Lou’s Memory Page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can read her Life Story, share a favorite memory or photo, sign her guest book, or make a memorial donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.