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Mary Lou Zeitler

Monday, July 1, 2019 @ 12:07 AM

Posted by Caleb Gilliland

mary-zeitler-athens-ga-obituaryIf you were to ask her family to describe Mary Lou Zeitler in one word, that word would be determined.

Mary Lou was determined to get the most out of life possible, to share that life with those she loved, and to live her faith in a deep and meaningful way. Having succeeded in that determination for over 91 years, Mary Lou passed away in Grace and Peace on April 4th, 2019, at St. Mary’s Hospice House in Athens, Georgia.

In 1927, Mary Lou was born to Charles and Mary Catherine Moore in Leeper, PA. After losing her father at an early age, Mary Lou joined her brother Leo, and sisters June and Doris, to help her mother carry on the family businesses, including a Funeral Home, Post Office and Furniture store. During WWII, Mary Lou was a student at the local High School and participated in the band, choir and many other school activities. She was even determined to be part of the war effort so she volunteered to take afternoon shifts to serve as a Civil Defense plane spotter, keeping watch for enemy planes flying over her community! As Mary Lou reached the end of her high school days, she decided to focus her college studies on becoming a teacher. In 1949, she graduated in from Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA, with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. She immediately began a teaching career that spanned three states and over 30 years, earned a M.Ed. from Penn State University in 1955, and was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society.

Mary Lou met the love of her life, Bill Zeitler, when they both started their teaching careers in East Brady, PA. Marriage and a fabulous honeymoon followed before they began their family to include three children: Stephen, Tina and Tim. In 1966, Mary Lou and Bill moved their young family from Columbus, Ohio to Athens, GA, where Bill had been hired as Assistant Professor of Science Education at UGA. Mary Lou and Bill quickly connected with the University and Catholic communities in Athens, and they began to build the friendships that she’s had to this day. While Bill was teaching, Mary Lou focused on raising Stephen, Tina, and Tim, and also on exploring her new community to identify where she could make a difference. She was active in the University Woman’s Club, delivered for Meals on Wheels, volunteered for the Athens Council on Aging, belonged to several bridge clubs and championship bowling teams, performed with the Sweet Adelines, and she and Bill were two of the founders of the Athens Gourmet Club.

Mary Lou continued her education at UGA on scholarship, earning 45 hours beyond her Masters. As a Graduate Assistant, she wrote the GA High School Curriculum Guide for Family and Child Development for the State Department of Education, designed and conducted a statewide nutrition workshop for Head Start Programs, and traveled across GA to consult with, assess and support training for grantees. During her travels in her powder blue VW Beetle, she became a popular highway figure known to the long haul truckers by her CB radio handle, “Foxy Mama”. Mary Lou later shifted to teaching Elementary school in the Athens area and, after retiring, volunteered for many years in Clarke County schools.

In addition to recognition as a wonderful cook, and gracious host for their Gourmet and Cocktail Clubs, Tailgates, and Holiday dinners, Mary Lou was known for her welcoming hospitality in their University Heights home. Over the years, she fed Bill’s students, fellow faculty members, church friends, Athens friends, and her kids’ many hungry friends and suitors.

Mary Lou was a prodigious knitter and talented sewer; she and Bill were also world travelers, visiting Hawaii, Puerto Rico and 16 countries throughout Europe and the Pacific. An avid Bridge player, she also delighted in hours of card games during their summers at the family cabins near Leeper, PA. Mary Lou especially enjoyed playing Tripoli or Euchre with Bill, her sister Doris, & brother-in-law, Warren. Mary Lou and Bill were members of the UGA Catholic Center for many decades. In later years, determined to explore her faith to its fullest, Mary Lou devoted hours toward rigorous study and prayerful reflection and was welcomed into the Secular Franciscan Order, an honor she considered one of the most important accomplishments of her life.

Mary Lou is preceded in death by parents Charles and Mary C. Moore, her brother Leo Moore, sisters June Borland and Doris Campbell, and beloved husband Dr. William R. “Bill” Zeitler. She is survived by her three children, Stephen Zeitler of Jackson, MS, Tina Zeitler Asher and husband Baron of San Diego, CA, Timothy Zeitler and wife Lisa Cohen Zeitler of Fairfax, VA, and granddaughter Cami Asher, an Engineering student at Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Our family sends a heartfelt Thank You to the entire staff and management of Magnolia Estates of Oconee, for taking such good care of both Mary Lou and Bill over the last eleven years. A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, June 1st, 2019, 11:00 a.m., at the UGA Catholic Center, 1344 S. Lumpkin Street, with a reception in the Newman Center following the Mass. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mary Lou Zeitler’s name to the Oconee County Senior Center, whose staff helped Mary Lou stay engaged, dancing, learning and laughing, for many years. Checks can be made to the Oconee County Senior Center c/o Merry Howard, 3500B Hog Mountain Rd, Watkinsville, GA 30677.

This summer, Mary Lou and Bill will be interred together at St. Mary’s Church in Crown, PA, close to their much-loved cabins and the Forest Cathedral.

Copyright © 2019 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.


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