Mary Lou Grefe Cooper, 87, of Lampasas – formerly of Washta, Iowa and Hondo, Texas – died Feb. 26, 2020 at Spring Oaks Nursing and Rehab in Lampasas.
A funeral service will be held April 25 at 11 a.m. at the Nicklas D. Jensen
Funeral Home of Holstein, Iowa, with Merlyn Smith to officiate.
Mary was born Jan. 1, 1933 in Holstein to William and Hulda Walker.
She played basketball at Holstein High School, and her team competed in the 1951 Iowa state championship. She was a majorette and played trombone in the high school band. She also was a pianist.
Mary became a registered nurse at Methodist Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa in 1954. She dedicated her career to caring for those living with mental health conditions. She served in nursing and leadership roles at various hospitals, including the Cherokee State Hospital in Cherokee, Iowa, Devereux Foundation in Victoria, Texas and Laurel Ridge Hospital in San Antonio. Her specialty was psychiatric nursing, for which a calming presence and the ability to mend physical and emotional wounds were key qualities.
Mary and Don Grefe raised their family at Stratton Creek Farm near Washta. In 1985, they sold their farm and moved to Texas. Along with nursing, Mary continued to be active in the church and with her many community volunteer roles.
Mary loved the arts, particularly musical theater, and she found great joy in singing. She also was a member of the Hondo Art League for over 15 years.
In her later years, she enjoyed swimming and traveling throughout the United States and Mexico with Robert Cooper.
Mary is survived by her younger siblings Dorothy (Bill) Sipes of Cherokee, Iowa, and Kenneth (Jan) Walker of Omaha, Nebraska; children Marilyn Petersen (Mike) of Danbury, Iowa, Sandra Emerson (Brian) of Lampasas, Texas, Kurt Grefe of Dallas and Crystal McDonald (Rick) of Memphis, Tennessee; grandchildren Melanie Honsbruch, Tiffanie Honsbruch, Lindsie Mizner (Dan), Whitney Honsbruch (Spenser), Kaleigh Emerson, Kyle Emerson (Jessa) and Landon McDonald (Shelby); and great-grandchildren Garrett Mizner, Shane Mizner, Nolan Emerson and Graham McDonald.
She was preceded in death by Donald Grefe and son Jamie Dietrich Grefe.