Tuesday, February 28, 2023
11:00 AM EST
St. John Neumann
44800 Warren Rd
Canton, MI 48187
Life Story / Obituary
With quiet strength, wisdom, and unwavering love, Mary Lou Knysz lived a life devoted to the good care of others. Mary Lou was wise, sensitive, and quiet, and she never hesitated to give all she could to help meet the needs of those she so dearly loved. A passionate special needs advocate, Mary Lou led with her heart, generously giving her time and talents. In doing so, she proved an inspiration and role model for all who were blessed to know her. A cherished wife, mother, and grandmother, Mary Lou was the heart of her family.
1946 found people around the world expecting a better life than before the war years and the Great Depression. As the Baby Boomer years began, American prosperity grew like no time in our history hope sprang eternal. The United Nations and UNICEF were created, the BBC returned to the airways, the first programmable electronic computer was unveiled, and Tupperware was first introduced to U.S. consumers. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the hearts of Lewis and Maud Mary Kelly when they welcomed their daughter Mary Lou to their family on September 2.
Born and raised in Owosso, Michigan, Mary Lou grew up in a home where family, education, and hard work were highly valued. Her mother was a teacher, and her father worked in a Cadillac dealership. Along with her older brother, Bill, Mary Lou enjoyed spending summers at the family cottage on Sapphire Lake in Lake City, Michigan. Long days of water skiing always proved a good time for all. Mary Lou was a Girl Scout and a very good student.
After graduating from Owosso High School with the class of 1964, Mary Lou continued her education at Central Michigan University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 1968 and started teaching middle school English and social studies that fall in Garden City, Michigan.
While attending CMU, Mary Lou met her husband of 53 years, John Knysz. The happy couple got engaged on July 20, 1969, while celebrating Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the moon and married on November 7, 1969. Following a honeymoon in New Orleans, the newlyweds returned home and settled into married life. Mary Lou continued to teach until her daughter Kelly was born in 1973, and she transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom. Her son Jeff was born in 1977, completing the family.
Mary Lou devoted herself to creating a loving and supportive home and never hesitated to work hard to ensure the good care of those she loved. Even though she hated camping, Mary Lou served as a Girl Scout leader for Kelly’s troops during her elementary and middle school years. The biggest cheerleader for her kids, she was a proud soccer mom and Marching band volunteer.
In the mid-80s, Mary Lou took on the responsibilities of Office Manager for the family business, Rainbow Fundraising. In 1996, she started working in the hospice industry and lovingly dedicated herself to comforting patients and their families until retirement.
While Mary Lou poured herself into her work, her favorite role was being a grandmother to Alex J., Jillian, Jensen, and Jonah. As with her own children, Mary Lou was her grandkids’ number-one cheerleader. An unwavering support for each of them, she encouraged their every endeavor. Whether cheering them on their sports, including baseball, basketball, football, gymnastics, volleyball, Special Olympics, or musical endeavors with the marching band or band concerts, Mary Lou’s pride was always evident. When she couldn’t participate in their special events in person, she followed online, requested frequent updates, anxiously awaited videos, and always called afterward to see how it went.
Mary Lou found joy in many things. She was a voracious reader, and Nora Roberts was her go-to author. While her favorite sports teams were the ones her grandkids played on, she loved going to Detroit Tigers games and cheering on the Lions with her husband. She also enjoyed attending the University of Michigan Wolverine football games too. Quiet times at home found her watching her favorite shows, including James Bond movies, cop shows, and Hallmark movies. Elvis Presley was her favorite musical artist, and her cat, Mittens, and dog, Laser, were beloved companions. Over the years, Mary Lou enjoyed traveling too. Trips to Hawaii and Aruba, taking cruises, and making annual road trips to San Antonio, were especially wonderful. She was also thrilled to attend the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Though our days with Mary Lou were far too few, each moment shared with her was a gift we will long treasure. Mary Lou welcomed each day as a gift and led with her heart, showing us in every moment how to dedicate ourselves to family and live a wholehearted life.
Mary Lou Knysz of Canton passed away February 17, 2023, at the age of 76. She was born September 2, 1946, in Owosso, Michigan, to Lewis and Maud Mary Kelly. Beloved wife of John for 53 years. Loving mother of Kelly (Robert) Smith and Jeff (Melinda) Knysz. Dearest grandmother of Alex J., Jillian, Jensen, and Jonah. Dear sister of William (Joan) Kelly. Visitation Monday, February 27, 2023, from 3-8 pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 45100 Warren Rd., Canton, Michigan 48187. Instate Tuesday, February 28, 2023, from 10:30 am until the time of Mass at 11 am at St. John Neumann Catholic Parish, 44800 Warren Rd., Canton, Michigan 48187. Mary Lou and her family ask that you make memorial contribution in her name to Morgan’s Wonderland (see link below), a non-profit, special needs theme park that allows access, fun, and learning to all ages and ability levels. Your donations will allow Mary Lou to become a permanent part of the park in the Memorial Garden.