Mary Louise Loucks

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HELENA Mary Louise Loucks, 93, of Helena, died of natural causes Tuesday, Jan. 1, at St. Peter's Hospital.

The family will receive friends 10 a.m. Saturday, prior to the 10:30 a.m. funeral, both at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Forestvale Cemetery.

Born in Sharon, Kansas, on June 11, 1919, she was the first child of John Edmund White and Daisy Margaret Allphin White. The family moved to a farm nine miles south of Pratt, Kansas, where Mary Louise grew up with her two brothers, Donald born in 1921, and Howard born in 1924. Donald died in 1935, and Howard presently lives in Pratt.

Mary Louise attended a rural, two-teacher school through eighth grade and then attended high school in Pratt. She was an honor student and participated in orchestra, debate and athletic activities. During her last year of high school, she drove back and forth from the farm in a Peerless car known as 'Helouiholojebet,' a combination of the names of five friends.

She entered Southwestern College at Winfield, Kansas, with the goal of becoming a physical education teacher. After completing three years, she transferred to Colorado College of Education at Greeley, Colo. In June of 1941, she graduated with a major in health and physical education and teaching minors in English and science.

While attending school at Greeleym she met Homer V. Loucks, an education major from Montana. They were married July 3, 1941, at the Methodist parsonage in Denver. At the time, Mary Louise was directing summer activities at the Alamo Placeta Playground in Denver while Homer was attending summer school in Greeley.

That fall they moved to Brockway, where Homer was a teacher and coach. Here, Mary Louise was introduced to cooking with lignite coal, washing on the board, outdoor plumbing and carrying water from the town pump. "She survived and so did the marriage although there were times when both were probably a shade shaky."

The next fall they moved to Nashua, where they were to stay for ten years. Their son Brian Homer was born in 1942 followed by son John Donald in 1944 and daughter Rita Marie in 1949. It was in Nashua that Mary Louise began her career as a teacher. Homer had become superintendent in 1943, and the task of keeping the school going during the war years became his. Teachers were hard to get and whenever and wherever there was a shortage, Mary Louise filled in. She taught physical education, home economics, English, science and elementary school at various times during the years and did a good job in all areas.

In 1952 the family moved to Malta, where Homer served as high school principal and superintendent for the next nine years. Mary Louise taught physical education and substituted in several areas. She and Homer were very active in Eastern Star while in Malta.

In 1961, Homer joined the staff at the Office of Public Instruction in Helena. The first year, Mary Louise taught at the Girls' Vocational School, and the next year she taught 7th grade English-social studies at C.R. Anderson School. After several years, she became school librarian until retirement in 1978. Upon retirement, she was recognized as a talented educator and a tireless worker.

After retirement, Mary Louise spent her time making quilts, helping her husband with his genealogical research and creating and collecting dolls. She and Homer had been married 56 years when Homer passed away in 1998.

In 2002, Mary Louise and her little dog Penny moved to the Waterford Retirement Home. Penny became a resident favorite and Mary Louise became very involved in all aspects of her new community. She was elected president, served on several committees and made everyone feel comfortable. She thoroughly enjoyed her social life there.

Mary Louise joined P.E.O while in Malta and was an active member for 50 years. She and Ginnie Lane were instrumental in organizing Helena Chapter BK in 1982. A charter member of BK, she served as its first president. From the beginning P.E.O. was important to her.

Mary Louise was preceded in death by her parents, John and Daisy White; her brother, Donald; and her husband, Homer.

She is survived by her brother, Howard White of Pratt; son Brian and Patricia Loucks of Great Falls; son John of Lincoln; and daughter Rita and Rod Boyer of Helena. Mary Louise is also survived by grandchildren Brian Lance (Julie) Loucks of Missoula, B.J. Loucks of Great Falls, Suzie Boyer (Brent) Poppe of Belgrade and David (Jo McMullen) Boyer of Saint Cloud, Minn. Her great-grandchildren are John David Poppe, Scott Morgan Poppe and Fiora Louise Boyer.

"The family is the answer to this mother's prayers and all Homer and I could have asked for of our nearly 56 years of marriage. Over the years, time becomes more precious. How quickly each day passes."

Mary Louise lived, laughed, loved and will be missed.

For the kind compassionate care of Mary Louise at the end of her life, we thank Jo, Leroy and Shirley of 'Our House Assisted Living' and also the doctors and staff of St. Peter's Hospital.

Condolences may be posted online at and/or

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Jan. 4, 2013
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