Mary Lynn Callen, age 76, passed away peacefully Monday, October 19, 2020 at Aspyre Memory Care in Ft. Collins, CO with her family by her side, after a courageous eleven year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Mary Lynn endured this disease with such grace and dignity. Her family feels at peace knowing she is now with her Lord and Savior.
Mary Lynn was born on April 7, 1944, to Lenore and Gerald Schwentker in North Platte. She grew up in Ogallala and attended Ogallala High School, graduating in 1962. While growing up, Mary Lynn participated in band, vocal music, high school musicals, cheerleading, and as a senior she was awarded the Ramsey/Bueoy/Kildare/Holscher trophy, which is given to an outstanding senior. Mary Lynn began college at KU, before transferring to UNL her junior year. She was a member of the Chi Omega sorority at both universities. Mary Lynn graduated in May of 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. After graduation, Mary Lynn returned to Ogallala, as she had become engaged to her high school sweetheart, Larry Callen. They were married on July 3, 1966. Mary Lynn taught elementary school in Ogallala before having their 3 children; Cheri, Chris and Mike.
Mary Lynn was a dedicated wife and mother and loved spending time with her family. She enjoyed watching her kids in their many activities and was always quick to support and encourage her family in any way she could. Mary Lynn had a positive personality, warm and genuine character, was very trusting, accepting and was most cordial to everyone she met. Mary Lynn loved music and was a gifted pianist. Her favorite times were when she had her family all together.
Mary Lynn loved volunteering and being involved within her community. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church, serving with the music ministry by being both the choir and bell choir director for periods of time. She was also a member of Methodist Women and was a Sunday School teacher. Mary Lynn served as secretary of the Board of Director’s of the First National Bank in Ogallala for over 30 years. She was a founding member of the Ogallala Regional Arts Council and enjoyed helping to bring the arts to the community of Ogallala. She served as President for this organization and also held other office titles as well. Mary Lynn also served in the role of President, and other offices, within P.E.O., where she was a member for 58 years. She was always eager to make Ogallala a better place to live.
Mary Lynn and Larry moved from Ogallala in 2005. Together they spent time in Palm Desert, CA, Tucson, AZ and Surprise, AZ before settling in Windsor, CO in 2014. Even though she lived in multiple places after 2005, Mary Lynn always considered Ogallala home. Mary Lynn was blessed with several friend groups from living in different areas of the country. Mary Lynn loved to entertain and was always a gracious hostess. She loved all the domestic and foreign travels she was able to do with Larry, family and lifelong friends. Mary Lynn always had a positive outlook on life even when times were difficult with her disease. She did her best to stay connected with others before Alzheimer’s took so much away.
One of her greatest joys in life was watching her children become parents of their own. Mary Lynn cherished playing the role of Nana to her six grandchildren, who range in age from 3 to 21. She was often seen wearing dress up clothes with the kids, teaching her grandchildren to bake or giving them way too much ice cream and sweets. She also loved playing the piano with her grandchildren, taking walks with them, and telling stories around a fire pit. The role of Nana was an important one to her and was one that brought her much joy.
Mary Lynn is survived by Larry, her husband of 54 years, daughters, Cheri Stevens (Dave) of Omaha, Chris Stalder (Geoff) of Windsor, CO and son, Mike Callen (Cherise) of Lincoln, and six grandchildren; Shelby and Jenna Stevens, Emma and Luke Stalder and Cora and Owen Callen. She is also survived by her sister, Margaret Ann Boesiger of Bartlesville, OK, brother and sister-in-laws Jim and Mary Callen of Nebraska City, and Max and Jean Callen of Lincoln, as well nieces, nephews and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Lenore and Gerald Schwentker, her mother-in-law, Ethel Callen, brother-in-law, Dwight Boesiger and nephews, Mark and Sean Boesiger.
A Memorial Book Signing will be held Thursday, October 22, 2020 from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. with family greeting friends from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in the Draucker Funeral Home Chapel.
A Funeral Service will be held Friday, October 23, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church of Ogallala with Rev. Chuck Rager officiating.
Interment will be held in the Ogallala Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be directed to the First United Methodist Church in Ogallala, the Keith County Community Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association or to the Ogallala Regional Arts Council- P.O. Box 405 Ogallala, NE 69153
The funeral service will be live-streamed at www.drauckerfh.com and methodistchurchogallala.com.
COVID-19 precautions are still being followed and masks are recommended.
Draucker Funeral Home of Ogallala has been entrusted with arrangements.
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