Mary Lou Thelen
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Mary Lou Thelen

Amherst, MA & Blackwood Terrace, NJ - Mary Lou Thelen (nee, Leidy), 88, of Amherst, Massachusetts passed away on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, at her home in Amherst. She was surrounded by her loved ones.

Mary Lou was born on January 7, 1932 in Blackwood Terrace, NJ. She went to Blackwood Terrace school and Woodbury High School. After high school she worked in the family store, Leidy's Market in Blackwood Terrace, until she got married. At the age of 20 she met her future husband, Verne Thelen, when her youngest brother, Lawrence Leidy, brought Verne to their parents' house while serving in the army at Camp Atterbury. Over the years she visited him several times at his parents' home in Bloomfield, NE. In 1958 Mary Lou and Verne married and they moved to Columbus, OH where Verne was on a fellowship for his doctoral studies. Early in the summer of 1959 they moved to Lincoln, NE for Verne to continue his doctoral studies at the University of Nebraska. It was in Lincoln that their first child, Greg, was born. In 1961 they moved to Amherst, MA where Verne took a professorship at the University of Massachusetts after receiving his doctorate. All three of their next children were born in Amherst. She loved living in Amherst and for many years was active in the Newman Center at UMass and the UMass Athletic Club.

Mary Lou was a proud homemaker and cherished raising her children. Her grandchildren were a continual source of joy to her. She was an avid gardener, loved to can vegetables for her family, and took particular delight in her flower beds and potted flowers. She was an accomplished baker although pies were her specialty. She also enjoyed traveling to California to visit her youngest son in Orange County.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Gregory and Debbie of Blackwood Terrace, NJ, and their children Megan and Zachary; her son Jeffrey of Hadley, MA, and his children Jessica and Sarah; her daughter, Helen M. Thelen, and son-in-law Dale Renfrow of Amherst, MA, and their children Calvin and Nathaniel; and her son Luke of Costa Mesa, CA. She is also survived by two older sisters, Helen Lippman of Lincolnville Beach, ME, and Dorothy Foster of Blackwood Terrace, NJ. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.

The viewings will be on Monday, 9/21, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, and Tuesday, 9/22, 9:00 - 10:00 AM at the Earle Funeral Home, 122 W. Church St. Blackwood, NJ. There will be a funeral Mass on Tuesday, 9/22, at 11:00 at Infant Jesus Parish/ St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Blackwood Terrace, NJ.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Newman Center at University of Massachusetts-Amherst at

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Published in Courier Post from Sep. 19 to Sep. 20, 2020.
07:00 - 09:00 PM
09:00 - 10:00 AM
Funeral Mass
11:00 AM
Infant Jesus Parish/ St. John Vianney Catholic Church
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2 entries
September 24, 2020
I am saddened to hear of the passing of MaryLou. She may have been petite but she had the biggest heart. You could not meet a sweeter person and I am fortunate to have known her. Rest In Peace dear MaryLou.
Joselyn K
September 22, 2020
In loving memory of a sweet and wonderful lady. We were lucky to have spent some special times with you on your visits to Costa Mesa.
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