Mary Lou Bairnsfather

Mary Lou Bairnsfather

Mary Lou was born October 20, 1935 to Chloe Davis (Mathis) (of Monroe) and John Alvin (of New Orleans) Bairnsfather. She grew up in West Monroe and attended Ouachita Parish High School and ultimately Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM) where she studied Dance and Administrative Management. At 16 she met Buck Hatten ("He made me feel like such an adult"). Buck was smooth and cool; being 5 years older gave him a certain advantages over his teenage rivals. Soon she was married and started trying to make babies. After a year and a half she had her first son, Dean Edward Hatten ("Edward" being the last name of the delivering doctor). It took her four years to make another son, Kelton Bruce Hatten. Said she found the name Kelton in a High School yearbook, and Bruce was the name of her eldest brother. After that her life changed substantially and she quit making babies. In 1959 she and Buck divorced and after a year of being single with two kids (tough deal back in 1959) she married Pat Craven (of Mississippi). Pat was a ranking member of the U.S. Army at the time stationed in Lawton, OK. She packed up her two boys and headed to Oklahoma. Pat was soon transferred to Germany (1961). Mary Lou and the kids followed. She loved to travel and took full advantage of the opportunity to see Europe. She learned the German language and immersed herself in the culture and society. After three years in Germany the family moved to Fort Hood, Texas (Killeen). A couple of years there and then to San Antonio, Texas. Pat got out of the Army and they moved to Monroe. Although she and Pat had a wonderful, happy life together it just didn't last long after the return to Monroe and she divorced Pat in 1969. Subsequently she married a swash-buckling sailor named Barrett Campbell (of Alexandria, Louisiana). The family packed up and moved to Memphis, Tennessee were Barrett was stationed at the Naval Air Station. This turned out to be her shortest marriage, lasting only 6 months. Back to Monroe with the family. A few years in Monroe and she moved with her youngest son, Kelton, to New Orleans (her older son had gone off to the Marine Corps). After a few years in New Orleans, and after her youngest son joined the U.S. Navy, she married a prominent New Orleans attorney, E. Gordon Schaefer Jr. She lived in a beautiful house on the New Orleans lakefront. Hobnobbed with New Orleans society and made merry for the better part of 15 years. Then the marriage fell apart and she moved back to Monroe. She lived since the New Orleans days quietly in Rayville and Monroe.

Through all the years Mary Lou loved to dance. She danced a million dances with her life-long friend Bob Stuckey. She square-danced to wide acclaim both locally and nationally with her cousin Roy Bairnsfather. She taught ballroom dancing in the 60's. She loved to party. She was always up to listening to other people's problems.

She loved to sit at the dining room table and drink coffee and talk. She liked anchovies and hearts-of-palm and other weird stuff. She loved glass figurines and fake flowers. She always had a little dog, and she took in motherless creatures like baby squirrels and possums. She adored her friend Sally Dunlap.

Mary Lou was loved dearly by her two sons; Dean now a retire Investment Banker living in Montana and Kelton a local Professional Aerial Applicator (Ag Pilot).

Mary Lou ultimately passed away at the age of 76 on December 16, 2011 at St. Francis Hospital due to complications of old age (and smoking too much). She outlived her three brothers and all her ex-husbands.

According to her wishes her body was donated to LSU Medical School in Sheveport to be used for teaching and research.

Mary Lou disliked funerals and services and never wanted any such for herself. Therefore, a happy gathering in her memory will be held Jan. 7, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Atrium Hotel, 2001 Louisville Ave., Monroe, LA 71201. (318) 410-4000.

Brothers - Bruce (Edna), Ellis (Mary Lou), and Lee Roy (Robin) Bairnsfather.

Published in The News Star from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23, 2011