By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Mary Ann Stowe, 78, was a tireless community volunteer who tutored children at Hoover Elementary School, fed the hungry at Our Daily Bread, sang in the choir at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and entertained nursing home residents as part of the 1940s-1950s singing group, The Melody Girls.
She was doing what she loved best — volunteer work — when she collapsed Friday at Our Daily Bread. Stowe died several hours later.
Stowe’s longtime friend, Bea Christensen, said Stowe loved being part of The Melody Girls.
“There are nine or 10 of us in the group,” Christensen said. “We sing in nursing homes, and at Christmas we sing at some of the banks when they have open houses.”
The group performed last Christmas season at Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center as well, Christensen recalled.
Stowe also was a member of and held offices in Catholic Daughters, Christensen said.
Sandy Howard, director of the soup kitchen, said Stowe was one of the ministry’s most longstanding volunteers. Howard stayed with Stowe at the hospital for several hours Friday.
“She was a very quiet person and didn’t talk about herself much,” Howard said. “She died doing what she loved.”
Stowe volunteered with the Area I Foster Grandparents program nearly four years, after retiring as business manager for Enid Property Management. Stowe tutored the kindergarten students of Hoover Elementary teachers Nicole and Zach Moneypenny on Mondays through Thursdays.
“Almost overnight, we discovered that the Lord had chosen to send our two classrooms one of his hand-picked angels,” Nicole Moneypenny said. “You see, Grandma Mary possessed a great number of qualities like no one else that we have come in contact with in this lifetime. The qualities I’m referring to rarely exist solely within one individual, and with that truth, we knew someone from up above was lovingly watching over the Hoover kindergarten teachers and students.
“Most people have a motivation in their lives that drives them through the ups and downs of life’s highway. Mary’s motivation, or ‘treasure,’ if you will, was people. It didn’t matter who you were or how long she’d known you, if Mary sensed you needed her, she was there for you unconditionally. She’s the type of person that only the end of time itself would have stopped her from caring for other people. Grandma was a loving, gentle, and kind individual that never spoke ill will to anyone and always had a peaceful demeanor that brought serenity to the environment that surrounded her and the lives that encompassed it.”
Susie Daniels, program director for Area I Foster Grandparents program, recalled Stowe as a volunteer who went “full steam ahead.”
“She just went full blast. She was truly a giving person,” Daniels said. “We invited her group to come and do Christmas songs at one of our December meetings. That’s how we got to know her. She wanted to help the children.”
Jim Henderson, owner of Enid Property Management, said Stowe was office manager, secretary and treasurer for 26 years.
“She was above any reproach and dedicated to her work,” Hendersen said. “She probably was not out sick three days. When she retired, we gave her a plaque that said where we are today was much to do with her efforts.”