GOERTZEN—Mary Lou (Rich) Goertzen

GOERTZEN—Mary Lou (Rich) Goertzen, 91, died Oct. 20, 2020, at home in “the blue schoolhouse” in Deadwood.

She was born Aug. 2, 1929, to Willis Rich and Hulda Penner Rich in Harvey County, Kan.

Mary Lou graduated from Bethel College, North Newton, Kan., in 1951. She married Ernie Goertzen, a fellow Bethel student, on July 3, 1951.

In 1965, the family moved to Berkeley, Calif., where Ernie and Mary Lou took art classes and began creating paintings and drawings, which they sold in local art markets.

During the Berkeley years, Ernie and Mary Lou became committed to the anti-Vietnam War movement, including hiding soldiers in their home who had decided to become conscientious objectors.

In 1975, Ernie and Mary Lou decided to move their family to the country and bought an old schoolhouse in the Coast Range.

Mary Lou is probably most widely known for her delicate pen-and-ink drawings with splashes of watercolor, of flowers, fruit and plants. In the mid-’70s, her art cards and prints caught the attention of Jay Block, CEO of his family’s company, Block China. Block came himself from New York to Deadwood to talk Mary Lou into putting her designs on a Block China porcelain dishware series, in production from 1980-90.

She is also the author of Lap and Nap Quilts and Comforters (2014), featuring 25 quilts she created.

Survivors include her children David Goertzen of  Deadwood, Anya Goertzen Lecuyer of Eugene, and Jonevan Goertzen; one grandson, Colins Goertzen; and her sister Suzanne “Mardy” Rich Osborn.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 53 years, Ernie; and her siblings Carol and James.

Mary Lou was buried next to Ernie on their Deadwood property, in a grave dug by neighbors (as was his), in a shroud she made herself, as she also did for him.

Memorials are Bethel College and Mennonite Central Committee.


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