Mary Louise Chapman East Lansing Mary Louise (Stauffacher) Chapman passed away at her beloved home on June 4, 2012 after a short illness. She was born on December 8, 1920 in Calamine, Wisconsin, the first child of Isaiah Stauffacher and Annie McCarville. As a devout Catholic she was proud to have been born on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. She was raised in Blanchardville, an Irish Catholic and Norwegian Lutheran town in southwestern Wisconsin. Many of the 806 dwellers of that small town became larger than life in her daughters' imaginations as she told stories of daily life there in the early 20th century. Mary's desire to be a teacher led her first to St. Mary's Teacher's College in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and then to the National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Education. She was hired to teach at the Bridge Street School in Plainwell, Michigan in 1943, and it was there that she met William Chapman, the older brother of one of her kindergarten students, and married him in 1945. He was her partner in 56 years of adventure. Mary left teaching when the first of seven daughters was born. She was a kind and gentle mother who instilled in her children the importance of their relationship with God. When her last daughters, twins, entered school she returned to teaching at St. Thomas Aquinas School in East Lansing where she primarily taught first grade from 1964 to 1985. She was devoted to teaching her young pupils the three 'R's, as well as their Catholic faith and God's love for them. In retirement she tutored, was a docent at Kresge Art Gallery, loved a challenging crossword puzzle, and enjoyed a windy day at the clothesline. Mary loved her seven daughters and sons-in-law: Anne and Ralph Martin of Ann Arbor, Margaret Chapman and Bjorn Dag Gundersen of Blaker, Norway, Mary Therese and Mark Cook of Kalamazoo, Elizabeth and Mark Murray of East Grand Rapids, Bernadette and Lucian Leone of East Lansing, Jennifer and Patrick Quinn of Lansing, and Jane and Christobal Samaniego of Ann Arbor. She prayed for her 23 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren every day and she always remembered their birthdays with a card and a stick of Juicy Fruit gum. She was preceded in death by her husband Bill, her brother Philip Stauffacher, and her parents. She is survived by her sister Therese Morehouse of Concord California, her nephew and godson Mark Morehouse, her sister-in-law Yvonne Chapman of Elkhart, Indiana and her nephew Dennis Chapman and niece Rebecca Chapman Levine. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all of mom's caregivers both in the hospital and at home (especially Jenny) during the past four months. Memorial contributions can be made to Mother Teresa House for the Care of the Terminally Ill (PO Box 13004, Lansing, MI 48901), or the St. Thomas Aquinas Scholarship Fund (915 Alton Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823). Celebration of the Funeral Mass will be Friday, June 8, 2012, 11:30a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church with Rev. Fr. Mark Inglot as celebrant. Interment will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. The family will receive relatives and friends, Thursday, June 7, 2012, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Palmer, Bush & Jensen Family Funeral Home, Lansing Chapel, 520 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing, where the rosary will be prayed at 6:30 p.m. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the time of service. Condolences can be sent to the family at www.palmerbush.com.
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Published in Lansing State Journal on June 6, 2012