Mary Lou Uhlenhake

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 2:37 pm

Mary Lou (Schmitz) Uhlenhake, 89, of Ossian, died Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, at the Ossian Senior Hospice in Ossian.

Mass of Christian Burial is at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Ossian,  with Rev. Henry P. Huber officiating. Visitation is from 3 to 7 p.m.Thursday and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday at the Schmitz-Grau Funeral Home in Ossian. C.D.A. Rosary is schduled at 3 p.m., and a parish scripture service at 7 p.m. – both on Thursday at the funeral home. Interment is at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Cemetery, Ossian. Online obituary at Paul Schmitz, nephew, with the Jamison-Schmitz Funeral Home in Oelwein is assisting the family.

Mary Louise Schmitz was born Feb. 12, 1934, in Postville, Iowa, the daughter of Philip Allen and Marguerite Louise (Lansing) Schmitz. Mary Lou’s mother died when she was two months old, and she was raised by her Grandma Mabel (Allen) and Grandpa Frank Schmitz until she was 11 years old. She then moved to town to live with Philip and Florence Schmitz and her siblings: Kenny, Karl and Karen. Mary Lou received her education at De Sales Catholic School in Ossian, graduating with the class of 1952. While in high school she excelled with the saxophone in music and was an outstanding guard in basketball. Ivan Uhlenhake caught Mary Lou’s attention, with a whistle and a twinkle in his eye, the first time she wore a poodle skirt to school. She continued her education at Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, for a period of time, until she was called home to care for her Grandma Mabel. Mary Lou then worked at the Northwestern Bell Telephone Office in Decorah.

Mary Lou was united in marriage to Ivan William Uhlenhake on Sept. 1, 1954, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, by the late Rev. E.J. Frost. They moved to the Uhlenhake family farm, three miles southeast of Ossian, in March of 1956, where they raised their family of seven children whom she was always very proud of. Mary Lou was a hardworking farm wife, doing chores, raising chickens, mowing lawn and always planted a huge garden to feed her growing family. She was well known for her homemade apple pie and banana bread. Anyone who stopped at her home never left unfed and for her, it was how she showed her love. Mary Lou enjoyed listening to music, dancing, traveling with Ivan, playing bingo, playing cards in the Crazy Eight Card Club, reminiscing, embroidery, cross stitch, sending comical greeting cards to family and friends and using the Grandpad to communicate, to play games and to view family photos.

Mary Lou was a lifelong member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church and was past president of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court #983. She was past president of the Rosary Society and oversaw the creating of the DeSales Cookbook. Mary Lou was a member of The ARC (People of Intellectual and Developmental Challenges) and had volunteered with Special Olympics. She was past president of the Winneshiek County Porkettes and was a member of the Ossian Crown Club. Mary Lou also quilted at the Ossian Senior Hospice, making quilts that were donated to the missions, families in need and the veterans. Mary Lou poured her heart into any project she was involved with. She was so proud of her Schmitz heritage, her hometown of Ossian and was a strong advocate for supporting the local businesses. Her passion, generosity, and spirit to support her church and local community will be missed.

Mary Lou is survived by her seven children: Kurt (JoAnn) Uhlenhake of Ossian, Karla Uhlenhake of Racine, Wis., Layne Uhlenhake of Beaver Dam, Wis., Laurie (Tim) Thompson of Calmar, Jay (Margaret) Uhlenhake of Lawler, Jeff Uhlenhake of Ossian and Aric Uhlenhake of Decorah; nine grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews and cousins.

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her beloved husband: Ivan on Jan. 1, 1999; her mother: Marguerite; father: Philip (Florence) Schmitz;  two: Kenneth Schmitz and Karl Schmitz, Sr.; a sister: Karen (Jack) Hemesath; sister-in-law: Esther and her first husband: Raphael Moeller and her second husband: Glen Stewart.

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