Mary Lou (Bigler) Brooks died on January 28, 2020. Mary Lou was the third child born to Elizabeth (Cruzan) and Seth Bigler on February 5, 1933. Mary Lou had two older brothers, Morris and Billy. Mary Lou was raised in Deepwater, Missouri where she attended elementary and high school. Her high school graduating class totaled 24 students.
After graduation Mary Lou received an assignment to write letters to Deepwater HS alumni who were serving in the armed forces during the Korean War. Sidney Brooks received one of those letters and wrote back. This was the start of a letter-writing love affair. During his service, Sid required surgery so Mary Lou traveled to Texas to be with him during recovery. Sid proposed marriage to Mary Lou from his sick bed. She teased “How could I say ‘no’ to a man in a hospital bed.” He said he wondered if it was a pity ‘yes’. Sixty-six years later, both would positively confirm it was a good decision.
Mary Lou and Sid had two children, Stanley (Michelle Bessette-Brooks) and Elizabeth (Bob Conn). They have two grandchildren, Quentin (22) and Cecilia (19), who they’ve spoiled through the years. One way Mary Lou spoiled the grandkids was to fulfill whatever crazy birthday cake idea they had. One year was a layer cake, half frosted with blue icing and the other half “naked” because Quentin didn’t like icing. Another year she turned a cake on its side to create a fish bowl – that idea came from the cover of a magazine Cecilia found.
Mary Lou would describe herself as always “sticking her hand up for something.” She was forever volunteering which lead to her participation in opportunities she hadn’t previously considered. For Mary Lou’s and Sid’s church, each fall, Mary Lou baked, wrapped and sold stuffed potatoes to apple orchard visitors and she also helped to execute elaborate scavenger hunt clues. For her community Mary Lou became a reading and math buddy for elementary students. For her kids’ schools, she would ‘hawk’ candy bars and popcorn in the Snack Shack. Her baked goods starred at bake sales for almost every organization with which she was associated.
Mary Lou was a skilled seamstress. She sewed suits for Sid, clothes for her children and draperies for her homes. Mary Lou sewed her own wedding dress, then altered the dress for Beth to wear at her wedding and finally took the garment apart to create a christening gown, coat and hat for her grandchildren. The christening ensemble and the story were awarded a blue ribbon at the county fair.
Mary Lou enjoyed time in communities in Florida, Missouri and Illinois, but she also enjoyed traveling and cruising. Mary Lou visited six European countries and 26 states including multiple visits to Hawaii and Alaska. She cruised through the Panama Canal twice and all around the Caribbean islands.
At home or traveling, Mary Lou enjoyed puzzles and games. She appeared to be a mere social player, but in actuality she had a competitive soul. Relatives found amusement in her “smack talk” during family pinochle tournaments. She would graciously accept a loss, but with a win, the sparkle in her eyes evidenced her glee.
Mary Lou won the hearts of her family, friends and communities. It is with great love we will celebrate her life in a memorial service to be held at 11am on Saturday, February 15, 2020 Wesley United Methodist Church, 4600 60th Street, Kenosha. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Wesley United Methodist Church or the American Kidney Fund (kidneyfund.org).
Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
5111-60th Street Phone: (262) 654-3533
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