PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Mary Lou (Melcher) Millhouse, 58, of Port Orange, Fla., formerly of Piqua, Ohio, passed away at 5:20 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at the Halifax Health Hospice of Volusia/Flagler - Port Orange, Fla., due to complications from late stage breast cancer.
She was born in Piqua, Ohio, on Oct. 28, 1954, the only child of the late Louis W. and Lorraine (Turner) Melcher.
She is survived by her two daughters and son-in-law: Cassandra (Jason) Rhodes and Lisa Millhouse, both of Port Orange, Fla., along with numerous cousins and close friends.
Mary Lou graduated from Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney, Ohio, in 1973, and obtained her bachelor of science in education in 1977 from St. Joseph's College, Rensselaer, Ind. Specializing in reading improvement, she worked at several schools in the Springfield, Ohio, and Tipp City, Ohio, areas.
She continued her education at Wright State University before moving to the South Carolina area, where she taught the "Gullah" children of Buford and Shell Point. While in South Carolina, Mary Lou completed additional courses at the University of South Carolina and the Citadel. She returned to Piqua, Ohio, where she did private tutoring and substitute teaching at Piqua Catholic Schools before leaving the profession to pursue an apprenticeship and join the family business at Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, as a licensed funeral director.
Mary Lou assumed many roles throughout her lifetime, in various organizations, such as president of the American Legion Auxillary, an assistant scout leader for Girl Scouts of America in South Carolina, and was a member of the Lowcountry Reading Association. She was also a member of the American Business Women Association (ABWA), Christmas Around the World, and was a leading Avon representative, consistently earning such honors as President's Club and Honor Society. In addition, she was a former member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Piqua, and joined the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church congregation upon the family's move to Florida in 1997. There, she was an active member of the Council of Catholic Women and multiple parent groups. Through a journey of multiple trials and tribulations, she proved herself to be a constant advocate for her children and devoted her life to raising them.
She enjoyed traveling with her family, '50s and '60s pop music, Disney trips and memorabilia, Ohio State football, watching TV with family, and living the Florida lifestyle. She was always there when people were in need of a friend or a smile, and was a devoted mother and friend. She had a way of making each day count, and her smile and laughter will be greatly missed.
A service of Christian Burial will be at noon Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, Piqua, with the Rev. Fr. Angelo Caserta officiating. Friends may call from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Forest Hill Cemetery, Piqua, Ohio.
Memorial contributions may be made to Halifax Health, Hospice of Volusia Flagler, 3800 Woodbriar Trail, Port Orange, FL 32129.
Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.melcher-sowers.com.