Mary Elizabeth was born March 9, 1919 in Lambert, Montana to Olive Jacobsen and Michael Francis Curren who died of a sudden heart attack in August, 1919. Two years later Olive married Anton Klette, an eastern Montana rancher. Mary loved ranch life and became an accomplished on horseback and drove a team during haying and harvest. She attended a one-room country school in Gettysburg and in 1936 graduated from Sidney High School, excelling in Latin and literature. She was a member of the both Drama and Glee Clubs and the yearbook editor. Through a correspondence course, she learned to play the piano. She enjoyed singing at church and country get-togethers and doing recitations. She married John Hall, Sidney native, in June of 1939 in Havre, Mt. Their daughter Betty Jon, was born in 1940 and their son Billy Dixon was born in 1942 in Great Falls. Their second son, Brant Dean was born in 1948, in Spokane.
During the war years, John was consigned to military construction in Montana and Washington. After the war, John and Mary settled in Spokane and were active in the construction of Central Lutheran Church and in starting the Lutheran Bible Camp, Lutherhaven, on Coeur de Alene Lake. Camping and boating were favorite summer activities.
The family made the decision to move back to Sidney, Mt. in 1952. They operated the Klette ranch for the next 7 years. Mary shared in every aspect of daily ranch life and grew a bountiful vegetable and flower garden. She provided the family with the richness of music and books in the evenings. She accompanied John on hunting trips and became known as a “dead-eye shot”—once bagging two antelope with one shot.
In 1959, after a summer of travel, the family moved to Medford, OR. They all appreciated the milder climate. Traveling, often to San Francisco, in their pristine travel trailer along their dog Baxter was a special joy. In 1975, John and Mary retired from their jointly owned construction company and built a home in Hayden Lake, ID. For a few years they enjoyed their home, garden and retirement activities but John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1980. In 1983, Mary self-published a book of her poetry collection, Shadow of Clouds.
From 1989 until his death in 1991 John lived in a care home in Spokane. Mary sold their home and moved to Spokane to be near him and to continue to be part of his care. For 14 years, she kept a journal that not only chronicled her concerns and heartaches but also highlighted her faith and the kindness of others. After his death she wrote a book, The Eighth Sea, to give other caregivers courage and an understanding that another had “sailed” those uncharted waters.
In 1993, she was introduced to Rev. Kenneth Larson. They became friends and married in 1997. The enjoyed many picnics, road trips, and travels including Europe and Ireland. Ken encouraged Mary to research her family history and helped her discover the identity and background of her birth father. She filled five notebooks with her findings. Ken and Mary enjoyed the community of Riverview for 16 years before his death in 2013.
In the midst of a full life Mary found ways to capture the beauty she saw and felt---in poetry, painting and through them enriched the daily life of her family. Preparations for holidays reflected her excitement and joy. She maintained her own beauty and carefully designed and sewed her own wardrobe. Importantly, she carved out space and time to sustain and nurture her own spirit through music, reading, writing, needlework, and meditating. Her abiding faith colored all she did in good times and bad. Her life has given her family and friends a model and inspiration of how to live beautifully and faithfully.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents Olive and Frank and step-father, Anton; husbands John and Ken; brother Melvin, sister Adeline; and grandson Tyler. Her sister Antonette, children Betty (Don) Shalhope, Billy (Sandy) Hall and Brant (Naomi) Hall survive her as do seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018 in the Mausoleum at Pines Cemetery, 1402 S. Pines Rd, Spokane, WA 99006.