Music always had been the focus of Mary’s life.
“She wanted a marimba from the time she was a little girl,” recalled her sister, Lyla Stoike, who lives in Sequim, Wash. But their parents made her learn the piano first.
“When she was 13, she got a marimba, which is like a giant xylophone,” Lanny said. “By the time she was … 16 she was playing with the Kansas City Philharmonic. In her youth, Mary even accompanied Bob Hope and played on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
After graduating from Wheaton College in Illinois, she earned a master’s degree from a music conservatory in Chicago.
Into her golden years, she performed — with her childhood marimba teacher — on cruise ships that traveled the globe.
Ultimately, “she played herself deaf, pounding on that thing,” Lanny said.
“Mary was a beautiful lady. She was not a great musician,” said Lance, who had been her husband of 32 years before their divorce. “She was a performer. She got up in front of a crowd and she lit them up.”
“We will get better. We will get through this,” Allison Ross said. “It’s just going to take some time. It’s still very raw.”