PRINCETON — Mary Lou Shaffer, 96, of Princeton, formerly of Portage, Ind., passed away Sunday, July 6, 2014, at Colonial Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Princeton.
She was born April 27, 1918, in Janesville, Ill., to the late Harry and Sylvia Taylor. She married Leo A. Shaffer on Feb. 2, 1950. Mary Lou retired in 1975 from the Merrillville, Ind., Holiday Inn where she worked as a banquet manager.
Mary Lou is survived by her daughter, Carolyn Preston; one grandchild, Michael Galinis; a niece, Ruth Myers; two nephews, James and Timmy Taylor; and beloved "adopted" grandchildren, Rachel, Abigal and R. J. Peterson.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Leo, on Aug. 6, 2000; her parents, Harry and Sylvia Taylor; a daughter, Ava Galinis; two brothers, Lowell and Harry Taylor; and two sisters, Donna Jean and Margaret Taylor.
In Portage, Mary Lou served as financial secretary of Portage Evangelical Covenant Church where she was an active member until her move to Princeton in 2004. She was also a deaconess of that church and active in Covenant Women Ministries.
As a member of the Princeton church she worked closely with the youth pastor and enjoyed being around young people. She was recognized as the oldest youth worker in the Covenant denomination.
In September of 2007, Mary, at the age of 89, and her daughter Carolyn moved to Desamperados, Costa Rica, to live with missionaries Steve and Elizabeth Peterson. During their stay in Costa Rica, Mary Lou enjoyed baking and baked treats for the Sunday school at International Baptist Church.
After a sixth-month furlough in Princeton in late 2009, she and her daughter moved with the Petersons to Tenancingo, Mexico. While there, Mary made vast improvements to the nursery at the local church, Communidad de Cristiano. Mary Lou loved living in Mexico and especially enjoyed the worship music. Upon her return to Princeton, Mary loved to work in the nursery and rock babies during Sunday school and Vacation Bible School which she did until she entered the nursing home in December of 2013.
A Celebration of Life service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, at the Evangelical Covenant Church, 24 N. Main St., Princeton. A graveside service will take place at a later date at Calvary Cemetery in Portage, Ind.
Memorials may be directed to Vitas Hospice, the Princeton Buddy Bag Program or the Evangelical Covenant Church of Princeton.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Rees Funeral Home, Olson Chapel, 5341 Central Ave., Portage, Ind. For more information, call 219-762-3013. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.reesfuneralhomes.com.