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Wagner, SD 57380
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Mary Louise Wipf


1930 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Mary Louise Wipf Obituary
Mary Louise Wipf

Mary Louise Wipf, 86, died January 13, 2017, in Sioux Falls, following a recurrence of cancer.

Mary Louise was born November 9, 1930, in Worthington, Minnesota, few days after the death of her father. Raised by her mother, Gertrude, she graduated high school and attended National Business College in Minneapolis. While there, she fostered a lifelong love of the symphony and opera by working as an usher in exchange for tickets. She met her future husband, Owen Ray, on a train and they were married on Easter day in 1953. After settling in Wagner, SD, she supported them until Ray's law practice was established. After the children were raised and off to college, she herself began taking college courses in Springfield. She also enjoyed painting and took lessons for many years in Fairfax. Her children's and her own home are filled with the beautiful oil paintings she produced.

If there was a sound track to Mary Louise's life, it would have the rhythm of her sewing machine overlaid with her breathy whistle, the crinkle of newspaper ads, the susurration of turning Bible pages and the scratch of a pen on a crossword puzzle. Her song was scented by fresh flowers and fresh air, garden soil and the smell of clothes dried outside on the line.

Mary Louise expressed her love by her actions. She sewed tablecloths, napkins, pillows, clothes, bedspreads, costumes, and curtains for her family. She loved to refinish furniture and was an avid but messy house painter. Her favorite phrase was "I can make that." Her grandkids easily recognized duct-taped boxes in the mail as surprises from grandma including once managing to send fresh tulips to a homesick kid. The surprise was occasionally unpleasant, when, for example, she sent asparagus to her son and didn't account for a week long delay in a hot Mississippi post office. She was first in line to the movies, to the mall and to read the latest book. She loved a bargain and new born babies, a handwritten note and a handmade gift.

In her younger days, she was indefatigable. Grandma Tick Tock / Grandma Wheezy would come, often on short notice, to lend a pair of hands to a busy household or stay for a week or more to allow parents time together. While there, she would organize closets and paint - frequently without permission. She loved to travel. She and Ray traveled across the globe and they took their kids on two to three-week summer road trips around the US in an Airstream camper, living on Tang and bologna sandwiches. She loved new experiences and ensured that nearly all of the grandchildren saw the Lion King Broadway show and the opera in New York City. She continued Ray's plan to have a biannual Thanksgiving holiday and proudly did a zip line in Costa Rica in her 70s. Mary Louise deeply loved the community of her church, Wagner United Methodist, and spent hours making banners, baking, and working in the kitchen. She often provided fresh flowers for the service. She and her friend Dora served Meals on Wheels for years and Mary Louise served on the Governor's Commission on Child Support. She loved to laugh and took deep pride in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren.

Mary Louise was preceded in death by her father, Louis Sorensen, and her mother, Gertrude, her husband, Owen R. Wipf, her son, Jonathan B. Wipf and grandsons Christian D. Wipf and Thomas C. Pfeifle and her brothers James and Gene Ringbloom and Albert Sorensen. She is survived by her daughters Jane Pfeifle (Craig), Rapid City, SD, Paige Carda (Jon), Sioux Falls, SD, sons David Wipf, Starkville, MS, and James Wipf (Kathy), Sioux Falls, daughter-in law Julie Wipf, Loveland, CO, and grandchildren Grace, David, Amanda (Mike), Anne, Daniel (fiancée Hannah Grimm), Nate (Kelly), Keegan, Will, Isabel, Nicholas, and Maggie and four great grandchildren, Will, Abigail, Audrey and Cara, and her wonderful friends.

If you wish to honor her, she loved flowers, and if you're inclined, memorials to Wagner United Methodist Church 406 1st St SW, Wagner, SD 57380 would be welcomed. Services will be on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Wagner United Methodist Church at 10:30 a.m. Visitation will be on Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. at Crosby-Jaeger Funeral Home in Wagner.
Published in The Argus Leader on Jan. 18, 2017
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