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Mary Kangas

June 14, 1931 - May 24, 2017
Redford, MI



Friday, May 26, 2017
2:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
(734) 525-9020
Driving Directions


Saturday, May 27, 2017
10:30 AM EDT
St. Valentine Catholic Church
14841 Beech Daly Rd.
Redford, MI 48239

Instate 10am

Life Story / Obituary


The year was 1931 and you could buy a loaf of bread for eight cents and a gallon of gas for two more. Compared to today the cost of living was low, but not low enough for the millions of people affected by The Great Depression. Drought and dust storms wore away at the Midwest during what was known as the Dust Bowl years. It was a time of economic and agricultural uncertainty and it was this year that Arthur and Hattie Walters welcomed their daughter, Mary Louise, into the world.

Born on June 14, 1931, Mary Lou was a surprise to her father who had been mistakenly informed at the hospital that his wife gave birth to a son. Perhaps this was the impetus for Art raising his young daughter as a “tomboy.” Mary Lou adored all sports, from fishing with a bamboo pole and a bobber, to touch football with the neighborhood kids, to participating on the girls’ basketball team at school. Her love of sports, whether as participant or spectator, would last a lifetime. Balancing this male influence, Hattie taught her youngest daughter all about keeping house. An incredible cook and baker herself, Hattie shared her skills (and her recipes) with Mary Lou. And older sister “Pete” introduced Mary Lou to the world of the professional woman.

Mary Lou grew up on Eldred Street in southwest Detroit. She attended Holy Redeemer School and graduated in June 1949. Upon graduation Mary Lou sought to combine her love for Red Wings hockey with her typing and stenography skills. She sent a handwritten letter to the Detroit Red Wings organization expressing both her knowledge of the sport and need of a job. Mary Lou was hired and became secretary to the general manager Jack Adams -- a position she held until she left to start her family in 1958. During her tenure at Olympia Stadium there were only six teams in the NHL. Mary Lou worked closely with the players during this era of “The Production Line” comprised of hockey legends Gordie Howe, Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay. The Red Wings won four Stanley Cup tournaments during Mary Lou’s employment and she proudly related stories about sipping celebratory champagne from the famed Stanley Cup.

It was at Detroit’s Lucky Strike bowling alley that Mary Lou met her future husband, Carl Kangas, in September 1955. The two were both members of separate bowling leagues and would catch each other’s eye as the teams shifted. Upon first glance of Mary Lou, Carl divulged to a friend that, “This one is mine.” He proposed on Christmas Eve one year later and the two were married on June 29, 1957 at Holy Redeemer. They honeymooned in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before settling in Redford, Michigan, where they raised their three children: Jeff, Greg and Judie.

Mary Lou was a devoted mother and very active in her young children’s lives, from weekly trips to the library and reading marathons to serving as room mother at Fisher Elementary School or as field trip chaperone. She was a scorekeeper for numerous seasons of Little League baseball, clapped the loudest at school band concerts and attended every one of her children’s events, rain or shine. Her house was always open to her kids’ friends who considered her a second mother and she hosted many a birthday and swim party, complete with a jigsaw puzzle laid out on the dining room table and a large batch of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.

As competitive as Mary Lou was on the golf course or playing field, she was equally mild mannered and gentle, as any of the stray dogs she rescued through the years can attest. She enjoyed quiet pursuits like reading mystery novels and working crossword puzzles. She loved flowers and nurtured them in her garden – always pleased when her favorite yellow buttercups bloomed in time for her birthday. She was active in her faith community at Our Lady of Grace for many years and she perfected the art of baking “birthday pies” for special friends and loved ones.

Mary Lou instilled a great sense of unity and love of family in her three children. She was a very proud grandmother and lovingly attended school activities and sporting events for her thirteen grandchildren -- until poor health forced her to stay at home. Even then she showed her love and sincere interest in the lives of each of her precious grandchildren.

Kangas, Mary Lou May 24, 2017 age 85. Beloved wife of the late A. Carl. Loving Mother of Jeffrey (Elizabeth), Gregory (Mary) and Judie Becker (John Black). Dearest Grandmother of Adam, Meaghan, Heather, Nichole, Jared, Allison, Joseph, John David, Evan, Maxwell, Lexi, Jillian and Josh. Survived by her Dear Sister Margaret Bedell. Visitation Friday 2-8pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman). Instate Saturday10am until mass 10:30am at St. Valentine Catholic Church 14841 Beech Daly (South of Five Mile). Memorial may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. You may share memories, upload photos and sign the guest book at www.TurowskiFuneralHome.com