Surrounded by her adoring family, Mary Ann “Mare” McNeilly, 77, peacefully passed into the arms of her loving savior from her Coulee Dam, Washington, home Thursday morning, April 11, 2013.
Born Mary Ann Meyers on June 8, 1935, in St. Louis, Missouri, Mary Ann happily spent much of her early childhood at the home of her dearly loved great-aunt and uncle: Mary (Mayme) and Otto Goellner. In 1944, nine years young, Mary Ann moved to Grand Coulee, Wash., with her family. As a teenager she sang in the church choir, waitressed at Grand Coulee’s Green Hut Cafe, was a student at Coulee Dam High School where she did tumbling and cheerleading and met Bob McNeilly, who was immediately taken by this vivacious 15-year-old majorette. In 1952, 17-year-old Mary Ann Meyers then took Robert D. McNeilly as her husband and soon thereafter they moved to West Seattle, Washington. During her time in Western Washington Mary Ann raised their family, was a Girl Scout Leader, active member of the PTA, sang in the Lyric Opera for two seasons and worked as a checker at the A&P Grocery Store (later “Tradewell”). In 1977, Bob and Mary Ann moved to Las Vegas, Nev., for five years, where she worked in two casinos and became the first female Limo Driver in Vegas. As such she met many famous celebrities such as Marty Robbins and Wayne Newton who on one memorable occasion dropped to one knee and sang to her. Mary Ann’s bubbly personality shined as bright as the neon lights in Vegas!
In 1983, Mary Ann and Bob moved back to their roots in Coulee Dam and lived the rest of their lives there. During that time they took about 2 years and traveled extensively in their RV throughout the United States and parts of Canada. Mary Ann loved traveling, seeing new sights and learning new things in regards to history, culture and geography.
Mary Ann was known throughout the Grand Coulee area for her community involvement including: Singing in the Community Choir, hospital guild member and volunteer, assisting with the “Over the Dam Run”, helping at the food bank, Coulee Dam visitor information center, Grand Coulee Senior Center and as a member of Faith Community Church, to name a few.
She was an accomplished artist with oil paints being her chosen medium. She enjoyed playing the piano and she also enjoyed fishing and boating with Bob. Mary Ann was a fierce competitor, especially when it came to cards. Known as the “Rummy Queen” by all, she could be a so-so loser, but the absolute WORST Winner (“Yes – Mare could Gloat”). Mary Ann was a whiz with electronics and had to have the latest electronic gadgets and gizmos. Additionally, Mary Ann’s family and friends know how she loved “wild and crazy adventures”: During a two week Alaskan cruise, 74-year-young Mare as well her three very reluctant daughters, went down the 5,495 foot long Hoonah, Alaska Zip Line with it’s vertical drop of 1,320 feet. Then, at age 75, Mary Ann went skydiving! Despite a four-year battle with cancer, she kept her sense of humor and zest for life until she passed.
On September 11, 2011, following 59 years together, Mary Ann was predeceased by the love of her life Robert “Bob” McNeilly. Also predeceased by 1 brother, 1 grandchild and 1 great-grandchild; Mary Ann’s adventurous legacy lives on through her five children: Bob M. McNeilly (Tina), Terri Walker (Milo), Archie McNeilly (Laura), Colleen Faye and Jean Alfano (Bill); 14 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; 2 brothers: Larry and Jerry Henke; 2 sisters: Patty Stenson and DeeAnn Fuchs and numerous nephews and nieces.
At her request, cremation has taken place. All are invited to a celebration of Mary Ann’s life at 1 p.m., on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at Faith Community Church in Electric City, Washington. Mary Ann’s family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her memory to Coulee Medical Center, 411 Fortuyn Rd., Grand Coulee, WA 99133 or Faith Community Church, 16 Grand Ave. East, Electric City, WA 99123. Strate Funeral Home of Grand Coulee, WA is honored to be assisting with this celebration of Mary Ann’s life.