Mary Johanna Preter

Mary Johanna Preter

July 02, 1919 - September 09, 2011

Mary Johanna Preter

July 02, 1919 - September 09, 2011


Mary Preter ‘She Ruled The Roost’

Born July 2, 1919 – departed this life September 9, 2011

Mary was born in Mankato, Minnesota and always celebrated her birthday on the 4th of July, thinking the fireworks were all for her! And for good reason, she was a firecracker!

Her grandparents immigrated from Norway, Sweden and Germany – Thus her maiden name, Ulmen from the German city of Ulm.

She adored her Mom and Dad and they were very close until they each passed away well into old age. She came from a large family, 4 sisters and 3 brothers, one of whom died at the age of 25 when Mary was only 18 years old. This I think made a deep impact on Mary’s life, as she and her brother were very close.

Mary was a one of a kind. She was beautiful in body and soul. Always there for her family and friends she tended to her family as she did her garden, with love and care. Gardening and Oil painting were two of her passions, she was an artist extraordinaire. Her mother had a knack for gardening and that is where Mary received her flare for the garden. She passed that love on to her two daughters, Sally and Suzie.

Mary and her husband Arthur Anthony were married for 58 years. They had 5 children, Sally, Suzie, Tony, Chris and Tommy. 9 great-grandchildren, all boys Michael, Patrick, Jason, Joe, James, Tim and Steven with the exception of 2 very independent girls – Cristin and Jeanine – much like their grandma and 2 great-great grandchildren, Gavin and Jax and with another on the way!

Mary, Art and family lived in Arcadia, California until 1965 when the call of the sea beckoned our Dad, and they moved to Huntington Harbor where he could have his small sail boat and Mom didn’t have to clean up sand from the back of the station wagon. These were some of the happiest days of their lives as they shared their charming home situated on the Harbor bay with all of their family and friends. Their patio door was always open. These were also years where Mom really honed her artistic abilities and today our homes are blessed with her delightful works of art.

When our Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 66, our mother became his primary caregiver. Until the final last stages of this hideous disease Mary kept Dad moving on with his life. They continued to travel and sail until the disease caught up with him. At that time Mary sold the Harbor house and moved to San Juan Capistrano to be closer to their daughter. Mary and Art fell in love with the Mission Church. Every Sunday Mary made a heroic effort to get Dad to church on time. Dressing him, getting him into the wheel chair, into the car, out of the car, into the chair, into the church then parking the car and then getting herself into the church. This was our Mother. She never gave up on our Dad, her husband, her love.

After her husband’s passing Mom lived in her home until Dementia took its toll on her. It was a long and arduous process, sometimes funny, sometimes so sad and frustrating for her as well as the family. But through it all her love for family was always at the forefront of her being.

On the evening of her passing, we toasted our mother, at one of her favorite restaurants, the Harbor Grill, we remembered her mystic, her love for all of us, her great and wonderful qualities,.God love her and He better enjoy having her in heaven!!! You go girl!!

Comments from family and friends:

‘Thought of Mom and Dad and Uncle Artie welcoming her into heaven to dance and laugh and share stories of happy times spent together.’

‘I have many loving memories of childhood gatherings, celebrations and parties held at Mary and Artie’s home,or parties at my childhood home attended by them with our cousins Susie, Tommy, Chris, Tony and Sally! Mary had such a gift of hospitality for gathering family and friends and making us all feel welcome and pampered! I found pictures this morning of my preschool birthday parties with Sally, Susie and Tony helping me celebrate! Aunt Mary was more than a sister-in-law to my parents. They were good friends as well! I remember parties at our home that lasted into the early morning hours with Mary, Artie, Mom and Dad singing songs, playing games poker, charades and having a very good time!! When I think of Aunt Mary I think of her generous spirit and warm, welcoming personality.’

‘She was blessed with a long and full life! I know she was greatly loved by family and friends and will be missed. Please keep us informed of the arrangements.’

The family has designated donations to go to:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Attn: Tribute Gift
Church Street Station
P.O. Box 780
New York, NY 10008-0780

For further information email or call 1-800-708-7644

Please be sure to include a note indicating the name of the person you are honoring or memorializing, as well as the name and address of anyone who should receive an acknowledgment of your donation.

Love to all

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2 responses to Mary Johanna Preter

  1. Mary died 3 days after my MOM, Dorothy Walsh, and they were together at O’Connor Mortuary on Alicia Pkwy. Can you believe that? My Mom always considered Mary to be a great friend, and cherished things which were attached to Mary from the Arcadia days. My Mom died in San Diego, on 9/6/2011. Her funeral is at St Catherine’s in Laguna Bch bc we needed time for the family to gather. Hopefully YOU will read our mother’s obit on the OConnor site. The Walshes send their love and regards.
    Diane Walsh Frank
    San Diego

  2. a memory dear to my heart…..It was your mom and dads’ 25th wedding anniversary and the party was planned …..Suzie and I were to make the cake! It was to be a 3 tiered maybe even 4 cake Suzie…was that your idea?. We were doing fine until it was time to assemble the tiers. They started sliding off one another and it was a mess. To say the least….we were discouraged! But….your mom had a plan! Toothpicks! Hundreds of them and it “kind of” worked. She helped us glob on tons of frosting to cover the disaster and with several trips to the store for more toothpicks and powdered sugar it was somehow ready to display on the dining room buffet before guests arrived. Your mom was so proud of our work and she didn’t hesitate to tell all her guests how beautiful she thought it was. I can’t remember much about the cutting of the cakeSuzie, did we leave the room?….but can imagine it was pretty funny. I loved your mom so much!

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