Mary Dorothy Keller, 83, of Epworth, IA, passed suddenly but peacefully on August 5, 2020 with her loved ones by her side, at UnityPoint Finley Health, Finley Hospital.
In accordance with Mary’s wishes, her remains will be cremated and a private family Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday August 9, 2020.
Mary was born April 15, 1937 in Dyersville, IA to Marcella (Freiburg) and Edward Schick. She graduated from Dubuque Senior High School in 1955. She married Richard E. Keller on December 31, 1983. Mary and Richard went everywhere, and did everything together, including volunteering at the St. Stephen’s Food Bank on a regular basis. She enjoyed farming, hunting, cooking, gardening, canning and bird watching. She loved her dogs, especially her beloved Tipper, who died recently, her cats, and she was always a sucker for a stray, which she welcomed with love. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren were very special to her, and she spent a lot of time with them, listening to their stories and telling them a few of her own. Most of all she enjoyed visiting family and friends, sharing a hug and great conversation over a cold beer.
Mary lived a full life and was a wonderful wife, mother, step-mother, aunt, sister and friend to many. She always claimed to be a “hugger” and everyone knew she gave the best hugs, which we will truly miss. She was brave and strong, caring and compassionate. She was so talented, she could make a delicious meal out of barely nothing, she could sew matching outfits for all her kids out of a piece of fabric. She had enough love in her heart for everyone she met and EVERYONE got a hug from her. Besides being homemaker, many people will remember Mary as a great bartender, making friends while she worked at The Golden Pheasant, Dick’s Tap, which she owned and operated with Richard, Judy’s Country Corner, and Porky’s Tap. She then became a State Certified Quarry Technician for Tschiggfrie Excavating and worked in several rock quarries until her retirement.
She was a member of Holy Family Church, and previously attended mass at the rock church up the road from their home, Lattnerville Church.
Mary’s eyesight had diminished because of macular degeneration and she was receiving treatment at the University of Iowa, Eye Care Clinic, for the past 5 years, with hopes that her case study would help in research and treatment for future patients. She was also proud to be a registered donor with the Iowa Donor Network, and we find comfort with her generous organ and tissue donation knowing it will help many others.
Mary is survived by her husband of 37 years, Richard; 8 children, Lisa (Jim) Petsche of Monona, IA, Denise (Clarence) Jesse of Paola, KS, Becky (Cliff) Schmitt, Tim (Peggy) Clayton, Tom Clayton all of Dubuque, Julie (Paul “Pork”) Schueller of Durango, IA, Kevin (Cathy) Clayton of Mt. Hope, WI and Connie (Rich) Freiburger of Sheboygan Falls, WI. 4 step children, Lu Keller of Dubuque, IA, Rick (Sharon) Keller of Durango, IA, Jeff Keller of Williston, ND, Lisa Kelley of Dubuque. 28 grandchildren, 43 great grandchildren and 3 great great grand children.
She is also survived by her brother, David Schick of Dubuque, IA and her sister Charlotte Muehl of Dubuque, IA., brother in laws Kenneth Keller of Dubuque, IA and Ernest “Butch” Keller of Aztec, NM., and many special nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Marcella Schick, in-laws Ernest and Ethyl Keller, a sister Ronnie Clayton and a brother Eugene Schick, and numerous sister and brother in laws.
The family would like to thank Epworth Fire & Rescue, and the entire emergency room staff at Unity Point Finley for their efforts and kindness. Memorials can be sent to Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Rd., Dubuque, IA 52003. You may leave online condolences at www.leonardfuneralhome.com
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