Mary Ann Anderson made her decision to leave this world on the brilliantly sunny day of Dec. 13, 2012.
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Mary Ann Fitch was born on Aug. 10, 1933, the first daughter of Dewey Grant Fitch and Margaret Letasky Fitch. She was born at home on the family farm in Carlisle, Lonoke County, Ark.
Her younger sister, Margaret June Fitch (Keaton) arrived two years later.
The girls early education was school in a one-room school house/church a couple of miles down the road.
Mary Ann graduated from school with valedictorian honors at the age of 16.
She then went to Arkansas Teachers College (now known as the University of Central Arkansas) 45 miles away in Conway, Ark.
She graduated from Teachers College after two years and the spunky young woman started the grand adventure of life, moving to Washington, D.C. and becoming a secretary working at the Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks.
During her career in Washington, she was a busy young woman. She was part of the Annual Cherry Blossom court of young ladies.
She also enjoyed the night life of the big city, the large department stores (especially the Christmas windows at Julius Garfinkel) the live theater, baseball games, traveling to the beaches in Florida, and dating a few young bachelors.
One young man, Lieutenant Junior Grade Richard Ernest Anderson of the U.S. Navy, was introduced to her when he happened to stop by the office she worked in. He became part of a prank she had meant for someone else when he sat down in a chair that had a cockle burr placed just so... After the laughter and commotion settled, they found they had something in common ... they were both from Arkansas.
They were married a year later (1953) in Washington, D.C. at the Navy Chapel with all the regalia of the tradition of Navy dress whites and swords in an arch for their escape to their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, New York.
Their first daughter, Vicki, was born a year later, and a second daughter, Anita, followed two years after. As a Navy wife and mother, her family's lives were changed every two years with orders to move to bases all over the United States and beyond. She made the best of each move, creating a comfortable home for her family, improving upon each place with her homemaking talents, planting new gar- dens, and exploring new places of interest with her girls. While Richard was in Vietnam, a major tour of duty and necessity for him, Mary Ann kept the "home fires burning" raising their two girls alone during this time of great stress.
One of her final moves was to Bozeman (1974) to be closer to her daughters and to a land she loved. As a young farm girl, her green thumb and love of animals proceeded her, and she was able to produce the most wonderful of vegetable gardens, hone her culinary skills with great finesse, and care for her adored Arabian horses. She and Richard also ranched for a number of years at Pony, Mont. (1983-current), finally making that beautiful area their home of choice in retirement.
Mary Ann will be remembered as a woman of purpose and a fighter against all odds. She was extremely resourceful in all the tasks of life, and genuinely opinionated, having a dry sense of humor evolving from her years in service as a military wife and rancher. We love you for all of that!
Mary Ann leaves behind the love of her life, her husband, Richard Anderson of Pony; daughters, Vicki Shampeny (John) of Manhattan, and Anita Quenemoen (Kane) of Clancy. Grandchildren, Katie Shampeny Rowse (Andy), Kristopher Shampeny both of Bozeman, Aden Quenemoen of Clancy, her extended family in Arkansas, the Thaxton and Keaton families of Carlisle, Ark., and the Anderson and Jones families of North Little Rock and Maumelle, Ark. respectively, Lars and Pat (Shampeny) Ericson and her extended Shampeny family of upstate New York.
Mary Ann's family would like to give special recognition to Dr. Marks of Ennis, Mont., for his excellent care and compassion to Mary Ann, especially during her final days. We are so appreciative of her wonderful caregivers, Sharon Muier and Jenny Ypma, and most recently Jeannie Singleton, of the Pony area. Also, Mary Ann would look forward to the special visits of Kurt Klonsinski of Bozeman, for stopping regularly to make her last days a little brighter. Our most grateful appreciation goes out to the other members of our kind circle of family and friends.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 16, 2012