Mary Lucille (Miller) Molho (“Mary Lu”) died quickly at South Bend Memorial Hospital at the age of 81 after experiencing a massive heart attack.
Mary Lu was a Christmas baby born on the cusp of World War II to Ivan Purl Miller and Lucille Harris Miller. She was the greatest gift her parents could have received. Her birth meant her family could no longer afford to send her oldest sister Marilyn to college. For the rest of Mary Lu’s life, she would quote her second favorite aphorism as a recognition of life’s trade-offs, “Take what you want from life but be prepared to pay for it.”
Mary Lu was one of the “smart” kids in school. But she would always deflect her own intelligence and talk about certain Amish girls who were smarter. She rued the fact that these girls stopped their formal education at 8th grade. She would go on to be an educator herself.
Mary Lu attended Purdue University where she took a history degree. She became a life-long Purdue college basketball fan.
After teaching elementary school, Mary Lu pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan in history where she earned a master’s degree. In her typical self-deprecating way, she claimed that the only way she was admitted to U of M was because the regular admissions dean was on sabbatical, and his interim replacement was a drunk. She loved Michigan college football.
In 1964 she earned a Fulbright scholarship and studied in Mexico. While there, she met a nice Jewish man from New York City, named Manny Molho. They were married Dec. 27, 1966.
Mary Lu paused her career to raise her two boys in Suffern, New York during the 1970s. Their neighborhood was largely Italian and Irish Catholic, and Jewish. Mary Lu adored the diversity of her New York neighborhood, but she insisted that her boys know that they were Presbyterian, Protestant, and Christian — in precisely that order.
Mary Lu and Manny moved from New York to West Lafayette, Indiana in 1982. In 1989 she moved to Rochester, Indiana to resume her teaching career. She became an active member of the Community Presbyterian Church of Rochester. In her various leadership roles, she was particularly proficient at politely but relentlessly raising money for various Church mission causes. Throughout her life, Mary Lu was an animal lover and an advocate for animal welfare. She was never without a dog or cat or both.
Mary Lu experienced a catastrophic medical accident on August 7, 2018.She underwent a back surgery where her aorta was accidentally cut. While being rushed into emergency surgery to repair the error, her heart stopped, and she was given CPR. After months of rehabilitation and care, she experienced an almost full recovery.
Immediately after her recuperation, Mary Lu returned to her role as care giver for her husband, whose health was declining. Her children urged her to throttle back her efforts because they were depleting her. She refused. She said, “God kept me alive for a purpose after my accident, and that purpose was to care for Manny.” And so, she did.
Mary Lu weathered the COVID pandemic by reading the few mysteries left in Rochester’s public library that she had not read before, and by streaming operas from New York’s Metropolitan Opera. With her cat on her lap and her opera blaring she was, as she would like to say, “Happy as a clam.”
Her death came as a sudden shock to everyone. But if told of the circumstances of her own demise, the fact that it was quick, and mostly painless, she would have quoted her first favorite aphorism, “It could have been worse.”
Mary Lu is survived by her step-daughter, Lisa Molho and son-in-law John Cave; her son Ross Molho and daughter in-law Kristina M. Johnson Molho, and three grandchildren, Taylor Kirk, Jacob Molho and Rachel Molho; and son Eric Molho. She adored and was adored by her sister Marilyn Richmond’s extended family. She was preceded in death by many loving family members including her husband Manny in October 2019.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, at Zimmerman Bros. Funeral Home at 1101 Jefferson Street Rochester, IN 46975. Masks (available on site) and physical distancing for guests are requested by the family. A funeral and burial open to all will be at South Union Cemetery in Nappanee at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 26, followed by a picnic at Rochester City Park at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
Community Presbyterian Church of Rochester, 530 Jefferson Street, Rochester, IN 46975 Or Fulton County Animal Adoption and Education Center Inc.1540 N. Wentzel Street Rochester, IN 46975