Mary Rose Lawler arrived in this world on October 6, 1943. She was born in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Mary passed away on November 10, 2022, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, having recently reached 79 years of age. Mary was the daughter of Phillip and Florence (Walker) Litton. Mary was married to her childhood sweetheart, Thomas “Tim” Lawler who preceded her in death in February of 2022. Tim and Mary enjoyed 61 years of marriage. Together they raised their three children.
Tim and Mary moved to and lived in the Twin Cities area for several years. In 1979 They moved to Morris, Minnesota where they purchased and operated Bernie’s Motor Supply. Mary worked at G.C. Murphy’s Department Store and Hamline University in the years they lived in the Cities. When living in Morris, she worked in the office at Bernie’s and at the Morris Senior Center.
After Tim’s passing, Mary moved to senior living in Fergus Falls. As her health failed, she was moved to their Memory Care unit until her passing.
In 1969, when Tim and Mary purchased Lakeview Resort on Stuart Lake in Otter Tail County, Mary was primarily responsible for managing the resort in the summer months. It was a challenging and demanding task for the family, but thoroughly worth the work for the memories that were created and the lifelong friends who were made. Eventually the decision was made to no longer run Lakeview as a resort, and Tim and Mary realized their dream to build their permanent home on Stuart Lake. Lakeview now remains in the family and is considered a great gift by Tim and Mary, and their grandchildren and great grandchildren are now able to continue to visit and enjoy Lakeview.
For several years, Tim and Mary spent part of the winter months in Mexico Beach, Florida and later they purchased a condo in Sun City, Arizona where they spent many winters and made many friends in their courtyard. Mary continued to stay in touch with these friends until she passed away. They enjoyed many courtyard gatherings, bingo nights, card parties and dinners with their Sabre Court group of friends.
Mary was a creative and inventive person. She enjoyed reading, puzzle books, embroidery, crocheting, sewing and other projects. In later years she began painting and became an accomplished artist. She had the chance to take some lessons from other local artists which she truly enjoyed. Mary also spent a lot of time going to estate sales, auction sales and garage sales. The treasures she bought were usually resold – although she could be accused of keeping just a few in her possession! For several years she set up her items at the flea market in Battle Lake, and in later years she had her items in an antique shop in Vining, where she also tended the shop part time. Mary thoroughly enjoyed her travels and metal detecting trips with Tim. If a tally was taken, it is likely we would find Mary had found far more treasures than Tim. Along with Tim, she also made handcrafted rugs which she sold at Phelps Mill and other local craft fairs.
Mary was an active volunteer through the years. In Sun City she volunteered at a local charity that sold donated items and raised money for an animal shelter. She enjoyed this as it incorporated her knowledge of antiques and collectibles. When Mary moved to Fergus Falls, she found a similar volunteer position there. She was excited about this and told everyone she was starting her new “job.”
Mary’s health took a turn in late summer and was admitted to hospice in August. Mary had an active imagination, and certainly had some interesting tales to share in the end. She was grateful and happy to see the family and friends who visited her and sent cards and letters in her final weeks, she was still aware of this, and it meant so much to her.
Mary is survived by her three children: Michael (Adele) Lawler, Morris Minnesota; Martin (Susan) Lawler, New Mexico; and Katherine (Alan) Behrens, Dumont Minnesota. Two grandsons: Jeffrey (Tanisha) Behrens and Kevin (Kimberly) Behrens. She was blessed with three great grandchildren: Gwendolyn (who shares her middle name Rose with great grandma), Logan and Sienna. Sienna arrived just recently, and unfortunately Mary did not have a chance to meet her except through pictures. Mary was also survived by her brother Phil Litton and her sister-in-law Judy Beach. She also was survived by many nieces and nephews who were very special to her.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband Tim Lawler; parents Phillip and Florence Litton; sister Betty Baumer and husband Kenneth; brother-in-law Robert Lawler and wife Wilma; sister-in-law Geraldine Ishaug and husband Doug; brother-in-law Skip Beach; and sister-in-law Marlys Litton.
We pray that Mary is at peace, reunited with Tim, family, and friends, and that she is healthy, happy, clear in mind and free of all worries.
Visitation: Wednesday, November 16, 2022, from 4-7 p.m., with a 6 p.m. Prayer Service at the Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
Clergy: Pastor Nate Hanson
Interment: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Clitherall at a later date
Funeral arrangements are with the Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Battle Lake.