Mary Wohlust, 84, died Tuesday, October 29 at St. Agnes Hospital. Mary was born 4-20-29 in Madison to LuNiel Carteron and Thomas Smith. She was referred to as "The Ultimate Volunteer." She selflessly gave of her time to countless organizations including Sigma, The Altrusa Club, Lady Elks, AAUW, The Newcomers Club, Music Parents, and the FDL Booster Club. She served as the PTO President at both Rosenow and Chegwin Elementary Schools. As an active member of St. Mary's Parish, she acted as director of religious education and taught CCD classes while her husband Earl worked as the Parish Trustee. In 2004, Mary received the Paul Harris Award from the FDL Rotary Club for her volunteer work in the community. Never seeking any personal recognition, Mary quietly went about volunteering and serving - developing and participating in one community project after another. She was unique in not only being exceptionally creative, but in having the energy and drive to implement that creativity. Recognizing the importance for children to develop a love for reading, Mary created a program for the students at Chegwin Elementary School. She made reading an adventure for the kids. Every week she would put on her reading hat which was shaped like a beehive and she became affectionately known by the students, parents and faculty as "The Queen Bee." Her love for reading and books continued later in life when she served on the FDL Public Library Board during the library's renovation in the late 90's. Mary and her friend, Sharon Donovan, began a children's theater program called The Once Upon a Time Players which eventually partnered with FDL Community Theater. Putting on fairytale productions like Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan and Red Riding Hood this program gave hundreds of kids an opportunity to participate in theater. Mary and her husband, Earl, were among the original families who planned "Pumpkin Place" a Halloween event put on by the residents of East Bank Street in Fond du Lac. For many years, this became the go-to place for Halloween fun and Mary could always be found in her familiar witch costume, cackling at the kids and handing out candy.
She was known for her creativity - always planning fun events and get togethers for friends and family. She and long-time friend, Betty Trent, delivered Gorilla Grams for many years to FDL residents surprising them on birthdays and other special occasions. An excellent writer, Mary would spend hours writing a personalized poem for the gorilla gram recipient. For a number of years, Mary owned and operated the FDL Answering Service - a 24 hour telephone answering service for area doctors, vets, towing companies and other businesses. She also worked for the FDL School District as part of the Gifted and Talented Program. She was a Fond du Lac resident for over 50 years, a period in which the community benefitted enormously from her quiet volunteerism, great enthusiasm and amazing creativity. She will be missed by young and old alike.
Mary is survived by her loving husband - Earl, a daughter Sarah of Beloit, a daughter Margaret (John) of Fond du Lac, a son Thomas of Fond du Lac, a brother Thomas of Illinois, grandchildren-Christopher, Nicholas, Katherine, Shanell, Kyle and Tyler and great grandchildren-Zhanell, Dai-Shoneria, Markia, Kyle, Tyler and Tyren.
The family would like to express their deep gratitude and thanks to the staff at Touchstone Living Center where Mary recuperated for several months and to all the dear friends and family who surrounded Mary with love and support during her final year on this earth.
Visitation will be held Sunday, November 3, 2013 from 1-4pm at Uecker Witt Funeral Home with a short memorial service at 4pm.
A memorial has been established in Mary's name to benefit children's theater in the city of Fond du Lac.
Uecker-Witt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Additional information and guestbook may be found at www.ueckerwitt.com
Published in Fond du Lac Reporter from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, 2013