Mary Lois McAtee, age 96, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at her home in Greenview with her daughter Marilyn and son-in-law Todd by her side.
She was born in the Irish Grove neighborhood east of Greenview, the daughter of Earle and Thelma (Philipsen) Eldridge. She arrived on a frigid January 5, 1924 night, and her Aunt Stella had to hold her up to the fire, and then turn her around to warm the other side. She joined two brothers who were two and three years older, Ed and Whitney (Spud). “Sis” (as she was affectionately known by them) and the boys had lots of fun, including tromping through the snow to Douglas School and across the field to their closest neighbors, “Uncle Carroll” and “Aunt Marie” Stone’s house. Their daughter, Norma Jean, was her dear friend. The Eldridge family added another son, Art, to whom she was also “Sis.”
Mary Lois attended Greenview Junior and Senior High School after they moved to town. One of her proudest acomplishments was graduating from St. Johns School of Nursing. She had great stories about her training with the nuns and living in Springfield. She especially enjoyed surgery and working in the nursery. After graduating in 1945 she worked in Decatur for a short time before marrying James McAtee, Jr. (Jimmy) on April 6, 1947. She moved back to Greenview. They bought a Sears Roebuck house and were active members of the community for 60 plus years. Her husband passed away in 2010.
She moved to Countryside Estates in Petersburg where she resided for seven years. She made many friends during her time there.
Mary Lois was also preceeded in death by her parents, three brothers and great-grandson Spud Kingfisher.
She is survived by her daughter Marilyn (Todd) Taylor of Montana, son David of Florida, five grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren, two greatgrandchildren, several nieces and nephews and two sisters-in-law.
Mary Lois lived a full life and had many treasured memories she cherished in her golden years (as told to me). She was an active member of the Greenview United Church (attending until the time of her death), the American Legion Auxiliary (serving as President) and the Fortnightly Club, She served as a medical support to family and community members alike and was called on in many emergencies. She was always willing to help.
Mary Lois and Jimmy enjoyed traveling to the World’s Fair in New York, to New England, around the western half of the country by train, to Alaska and Hawaii, taking grandkids to Yellowstone Park and going to Florida a couple weeks in February.
They also enjoyed their cabin in Canada. Their children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and friends have many fond memories spent picking wild blueberries with her and her family to make her blueberry pies and pancakes. When “the guide” took her and her friend fishing, he said he couldn’t even fish for netting all of theirs. But once the grandchildren started arriving, she wanted to retire from fishing to babysit, much to her grandkids’ delight.
Whether she was know as Mary Lois, Grandma or Grandma Lois, she was a beloved presence for the children in her life. She enjoyed seeing them in their Halloween costumes, always kept Oreos in the cupboard, sewed many sequins on dance costumes, made delicious Christmas candy, cooked special meals, knitted first baby blankets and booties, read kids’ books on tape with ringing a bell to mean to turn the page (special because these were Grandma’s and Grandpa’s voices when you lived far away). She learned how to use the computer, to send email, to use cells phone to keep in touch, and took trips at 80+ to help celebrate grandkids’ birthdays. She liked to tell the story about Harry the pony. He was so smart, he would go under the limb to knock the city kids off.
She dearly loved her grandchildren and she was beloved by them. She had a sense of humor, sharp mind, positive outlook, and gentle heart. Mary Lois showed how to live by her setting a wonderful example as a wife, mother, grandmother, Christian and friend. And always a nurse.
Visitation will be from 5 until 7 pm on Monday, May 18, 2020 at Mott and Henning Funeral Home in Athens. Ten people are allowed in at one time. Others are asked to remain in their cars until entering the building. Everyone must wear masks at all times.
A private service will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 11 am with Shane Hoerbert officiating. Graveside services will follow in Elmwood Cemetery in Greenview.
A memorial service will be held at a later time.
Memorials may be made to the Greenview United Church, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for research, or the donor’s choice.
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