Mary Lou Waller
November 24, 1928 – June 26, 2015
Mary Lou Waller was born to Rae and Roger Jones in Oklahoma City, where she lived until the day she drew her last breath. Fifty-six of those years were spent with Bill Waller, from the day they married—Valentine’s Day, 1948—until the day he passed away—June 27, 2004. Church always played a large role in their lives, with Bill serving as choir director at Christ United Methodist and Epworth United Methodist. Mary Lou always sang in the choir and on many occasions was soloist in church, at special choir performances, at weddings, and at funerals. After Bill retired from directing, they made a new church home at Chapel Hill United Methodist, where they continued to sing in the choir and where Mary Lou volunteered in the church office and helped with various tasks for the Retired Fellowship and Joy Sunday School class.
Mary Lou was a banker, working her way up through the ranks and eventually becoming a vice president of commercial lending. She began her banking career at Oklahoma National Bank, where her first job was to drive the bank’s car to the clearinghouse to exchange checks with other banks. Over time she worked in every department of the bank and, after twenty years, moved to Founders Bank and finally to Community Bank, where she became a bank officer and eventually was promoted to vice president of commercial lending, not a typical position for a woman to hold in those days. She took many courses with the American Institute of Banking and completed a program at Southern Methodist University’s Graduate School of Banking. She served as state president of National Association of Bank Women. She was president of the Warr Acres/Putnam City Chamber of Commerce and the first woman appointed to the board of directors at Sportsman’s Country Club.
One would think that Mary Lou had plenty to do, with her involvement at church and a full-time profession, but on top of all that, she and Bill also had two daughters. For many years, Mary Lou got up at 5:30 so she could fix a full breakfast for Bill and the girls, and by the time she left for the bank, all beds were made and the breakfast dishes cleaned and put away. Though her job at the bank was only five days a week plus one Saturday a month, the church choirs kept the family busy on Wednesday afternoons and evenings as well as on Sundays with multiple services, including the evening. And she performed all these tasks cheerfully and with grace. She made great friends at the churches, truly enjoyed the music, and felt that she was using the talents that God gave her. She believed that God had blessed her a hundred fold over what she gave.
Though they worked hard, they played hard, too. They loved to dance and would get up and dance when the spirit moved them, even in places where no one else was dancing. And they were good at it. Mary Lou and Bill loved to travel and took many trips throughout the North America and Europe. They traveled with friends, with family, and sometimes even alone. After Bill’s passing, Mary Lou traveled with women friends as long as she was able.
Friendships have always been important to Mary Lou; she has friends today whom she has known since they were very small children. She and Bill were active leaders in their high school alumni program, working on the Capitol Hill High School Decade of the 40s Reunions held every five years until too many classmates had either passed away or were unable to come. The classes of ’45 and ‘46 still meet for lunch once each quarter. Mary Lou loved to have parties and often was hostess for groups of old friends and the church choirs. She was a “people person,” who enjoyed friends old and new, her bank customers, the card-playing ladies in her neighborhood, and the people in churches she went to. After she was no longer able to get around very well, she enjoyed the visits from friends but missed going to church, to the theatre or dinner with friends, and to other social events.
The past two years have been difficult physically for Mary Lou, but she rarely acted angry or sad about her condition. She kept her faith and told her family and friends she was ready to be with Bill and willing to go when God called her. He made that call last Friday night, and people who knew her and Bill are certain they are singing and dancing together again.
The family would like to thank all who helped care for her: Dr. Allen Hamaker, the wonderful people at Integris Hospice House, the Quail Ridge family, and the folks who helped her at Fountains at Canterbury and Integris Baptist Hospital.
Preceding Mary Lou in death were her husband, her parents, her three brothers, Roger Lee, Charles, and Ron. She leaves behind her two daughter and their husbands, Marsha and Al Keller and Anita and Roger Grove; the nephew she raised as a son and his wife, LeAnne and Edward Williams; five grandchildren and spouses, Lauren and Will Corbyn, Adam Keller, Taylor and Kelsey Lamb, Sarah and Harrison Grove, and Katelyn Williams. She was delighted she got to know her first great-granddaughter, Sloane Corbyn, and that she was able to meet, hold, and love the newest baby in the family, Emma Lamb. She wanted to wait around until the new Corbyn baby arrived but was in a hurry to see her Bill again.
A celebration of Mary Lou’s life will be 11:00, Thursday, July 2, at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City. Donations can be made in Mary Lou’s name to Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, or Westminster School, all in Oklahoma City. Condolences and memories can be shared at www.OklahomaCityCremation.com