Mary Ann Lopez

Mary Ann Lopez

Mary Ann (Turner) Lopez died June 19, 2019. She was born Dec. 2, 1931, the youngest of eight children born to Roscoe Robert and Verdie (Oaks) Turner in rural Guthrie County, Iowa. She graduated from Adair High School, where she was Salutatorian of her senior class.

After high school, Mary worked for a time in St. Louis at the Sporting News, and later married Dale George Loukaitis. Four children were born to this union and they farmed in Audubon County.

She was a longtime member of St. John’s Lutheran Church northwest of Adair, where she also taught Sunday School.

Mary kept a large garden and was proficient at home preserving. She raised chickens and was kept very busy helping with all manner of farm work, including those tasks that required driving a tractor.

Dale and Mary later divorced and she moved to Exira. She was among the first crew of women to train as welders at Anderson Welding in Audubon, and in 1973 she moved to Phoenix, where she drove a tractor pulling a cotton rood. When the season was over, she was hired as a welder at Manuel’s Welding in Phoenix, after proving to the owner that she was actually a good welder despite being a woman.

In 1974 she married Manuel Lopez and they lived in the Phoenix area until retirement, at which time they built a modern, off-the-grid home on 40 acres east of Show Low, independent of utility companies for their power. Manuel died in May 1999, and Mary remained on the acreage until moving to an apartment in Show Low in 2014.

In Show Low, for exercise and to clean up the environment, Mary walked many miles, picking up roadside trash as she went. She was presented with an award of recognition for this, and the local newspaper ran a short feature on her volunteer service. People recognized her and thanked her from time-to-time for this gesture even after her health no longer permitted her to continue.

Mary was a hard worker, never afraid of pitching in to do what many would have considered men’s work. She liked the outdoors, tending her flower beds, and loved working with horses. She particularly loved the low chaparral and desert landscapes of Arizona, where she lived the greater part of her life.

As a young mother, she spent many hours at her Singer sewing machine making dresses for her daughters. She was an avid reader for much of her life, and a skilled baker.

Preceding her in death were her parents; her brothers and sisters: Lola (in infancy), Glenn Turner, Helen Niklasen, Howard Turner, Sarah Turner, Edwin Neil Turner, and Rachael Mueller; and a great-grandson, Sebastian Loukaitis.

Surviving are her children: Terry Loukaitis of Lynden, Washington; Dan Loukaitis of Exira, Iowa; Audrey Geneve of Cedar Springs, Michigan; and Beth (Marvin) Fay of Council Bluffs, Iowa; her grandchildren: Barry Loukaitis, Angela (Loukaitis) Bowen, Sean Loukaitis, Tiffany (Loukaitis) Sayre, Brent Akers, and Micah Loukaitis; ten great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren; also nieces and nephews.

At Mary’s request, her cremains will be spread near those of her husband near Green’s Peak.

Owens Livingston Mortuary of Show Low handled arrangements.

For those who have special memories and would like to send private condolences or sign an online guest book, visit www.owenslivingstonmortuary.com.

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