Mary Louise Nugent Thie
Mary Louise was born to Ernest Clinton Nugent and Pearl Beatrice Maddock Nugent on July 5, 1919, at home near Hartsville, Ind.
She was born on the sixth birthday of her older brother, George Franklin; a younger brother, Robert Brock, arrived in 1921.
Mary Louise graduated from Union Township High School in 1937. In 1942, she became the first person in her family to graduate from college. Her degree in elementary education was from Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. During these Depression years, Mary Louise was able to attend college with a scholarship, a loan and working in a private home for her room and board.
At a Trianon Sorority party at Butler, she met her future husband, Lawrence Henry Thie (1912-2009). Their 67-year marriage was blessed with three daughters: Carol in Mishawaka, Ind., Bonnie (Randal Cowart) in Seattle; and Krista (Daryl Hoyt) in White Salmon, Wash. They, along with grandchildren Diane, Amy (Nick Miller), Kerala (Andy Eberle) and Avery, and great-grandchildren Keiren and Hailey, treasure memories of a woman who was loving, generous and a remarkable teacher.
After marriage on May 17, 1942, Mary Lou and Larry moved around the United States as he fulfilled his World War II military service. During this time, Mary Lou worked as a clerk, taught school and wired radios on a production line. While raising her family, Mary Lou led by example to teach her daughters lifelong skills in homemaking, education, reading, independence and a love of travel. Mary Lou taught school in Indiana, Washington, Nepal, Korea and Virginia, finishing her career at Oak Harbor Elementary School where she taught from 1968 until she retired in 1985.
The Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, was the early foundation of her strong religious faith. As a member of the Coupeville United Methodist church since 1950, she served as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent; president of WSCS (now United Methodist Women), and as a Washington/Idaho delegate to the 1954 General Conference of the Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Mary Lou served as leader for missions in UMW, flower committee (often sharing roses from her garden), attic treasures chairwoman, Strawberry Social and other areas where volunteer hands were welcomed.
Many years of travel took her and her family to live and work in Nepal and Korea as a part of Larry’s career with the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as to all 50 states and all seven continents. The world Mary Lou and Larry travelled and worked hard to improve has changed greatly. They made a difference in the lives of many. Throughout her life, Mary Lou held a steadfast belief in the goodness of people and the power of knowledge and education.
Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Coupeville United Methodist Church, 608 N. Main Street in Coupeville. Memorials in her name may be made to the church marked for UMW — Missions or to National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (dysphonia.org).