Mary Louise Guggenberger, of Wilmington, DE, passed away on Sunday, April 16, 2023, at the age of 83. Mary was born in Cold Spring, Minnesota on April 28, 1939, to Victor and Frances (Determan) Iten. Mary was loved by her two younger sisters and their families: middle sister Shirley, husband Mike Wiseman, and their five children and youngest sister Ellen, husband Dick Nieters, and their three children.
Mary and her husband, Lloyd, raised three children: Sandra, married to John Yannacone, Paul, married to MaryAnn (Harper) and Steven. Mary loved her six grandchildren, Nicholas and Steven Yannacone, Katherine Guggenberger, and Madeline, Maxwell and Emma Guggenberger.
Mary attended St. Boniface High School in Cold Spring, where she met her high school sweetheart, Lloyd. The two competed academically, with Mary graduating as class valedictorian in 1957. Following graduation, Mary worked as a secretary at the Cold Spring Granite Company, where her father worked as a stone cutter.
In 1961 Mary and Lloyd were married. They soon travelled to Ames, Iowa, where Lloyd attended graduate school at Iowa State University, and the two started their family. When Lloyd joined the DuPont Company in 1965, Mary, Lloyd, Sandy and Paul, moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where Steven soon joined the family. The family moved several times through the years, with Mary eventually returning to Delaware, making her final home at Cokesbury Village in Hockessin.
Mary was a strong woman. Ahead of her time as a girl in the forties and fifties and as a young woman in the sixties, Mary advocated for the things she wanted, making a life outside of the home through clubs, crafts, and activities, and developing friendships that lasted a lifetime. After her children had grown, Mary volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House of Wilmington and worked at the gift shop of the Hagley Museum, a job that allowed her to buy herself her first, and only, diamond ring. Our Mom took great pleasure in being a mom and grandmother. She sewed Sandy’s clothes and led Paul’s and Steve’s Indian Guide team when her kids were young. Mom organized our birthday parties and helped with homework. She drove us everywhere. Mom babysat for the grandkids, drove them to and from school, attended every school event, concert and game. She was proud of each of us, our achievements, and the people we have become or are growing to be. Our Mom was a wonderful homemaker. She chose paint colors, carpets, and artwork. She sewed draperies, and decorated our home with her own cross stitch, needle point, ceramics, and flower arrangements. The meals Mom made brought our family together each evening. Our home was a reflection of our mother; thoughtfully put together and beautiful, but always comfortably home.
Mom’s favorite house was our home in Louisville. Though reluctant to move, for a lot of good reasons, Mom blossomed in Louisville. She loved the city, its character and events. She was especially fond of the hot air balloons that could often be seen in the summer sky and would sometime pass over our home. One year, Mom had the opportunity to help sew roses into the blanket given to the winner of the Kentucky Derby. We’ve all received gifts of Louisville Stoneware.
Mom cherished her childhood home of Cold Spring, her friends and family and her parents’ home on the Sauk River. That home became special to all of her children as we built memories there during our visits; creating a gallery of our art on the stairway walls when Mom and Dad were in Japan, walking on the frozen river, picking beans in the garden, exploring the canned fruits and vegetables in the basement pantry, playing Uno on the floor under the Christmas tree with our cousins, playing dice on the kitchen table with the grownups, and sneaking onto the back porch that was stacked with Tupperware full of cookies at Christmas time.
We’ve spent time over the past few years with Mom going through old photo albums and her high school yearbooks. She shared so many memories of people, friends and experiences. She carried those memories with her for eighty-four years.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 3 at 2:30 in the Atrium Meeting Room at Cokesbury Village. The family will greet friends at a reception after the service. A funeral will be held at in Cold Spring, Minnesota at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Ronald McDonald House.