Mary McFarland

Our dear mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend Mary Frances McFarland died on Thursday, September 28th, under hospice care in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was 83 years old.


Mary was a stubborn, southern sweetheart (Southern Living magazine lost a faithful subscriber) who did not take no for an answer and made friends everywhere she went. From where she was born and raised in Jonesboro, LA to where she settled down here in Laramie, WY she was always busy doing something for someone and has been loved by many. Of those who loved her, many dear to her heart passed away while she was still alive. Through the devastating loss of family, four husbands, and friends, Mary continued to open her heart to love.

If you grew up in her home daycare you knew her as Mama Mary, and she was probably the only person who could have gotten you to eat split pea soup. If you lived in her neighborhood then you’ve either let the weeds go or started pulling them yourself. If you attended her beloved Seventh – day Adventist church then you knew her as the head deaconess and looked forward to her warm welcome each week. If you knew her at all (including her postal carrier, her trash men, grocery store employees-specifically those working in produce, the woman who permed her hair, and many more), you are already wishing you had asked for that apple butter recipe, and you likely still have one of her jars.

Mary rarely missed a phone call and eagerly waited for the mail each day, as she loved to hear from friends and family. She is preceded in death by her parents Lunar Moffett and James Ira Sowers; her  first husband, Edgar Bishop, her second husband AJ Griffin, her third husband Edwin Reitsma, and her fourth husband, Chuck McFarland; her siblings, George Sowers, Harvey Sowers, Myrtlene Beach, Cecil  Sowers, and  James Sowers. She is survived by her siblings,  Carles (Bobbie) Sowers,  Lorene (Dick) Maxwell, Nellie Wilkes, Dale (Ginny) Sowers, Loyd (Linda) Sowers ; her two children from her second husband (AJ), Ken (Brenda) Reitsma, Teresa (Larry) Rhodes, her two children from her third husband (Edwin), Erwin (Linda) Reitsma, James (Larca) Reitsma; and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She also thought of the many children whom she loved and cared for in her home daycare as family.

God is preparing a royal garden for her to tend in heaven, but in the meantime we know Mary would have loved it if you planted a flower here on earth in her honor.

Visitation will be held 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1416 Boswell Dr. Laramie, WY.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, October 12, 2017 at the Seventh Day Adventist Church with Pastor Wayne Nazarenus, officiating. Burial will follow at Greenhill Cemetery.
Flowers may be sent to Montgomery-Stryker Funeral Home.


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Condolences (18)

  • Anonymous

    My condolences to Mary, Her family and friends from your sister Lorene and her Husband Dick. We loved you and will miss you very much. Sorry we were not able to attend your funeral for health reasons of our own. Love you sister.

  • Ryan Duysen

    I have wonderful childhood memories of spending time with Mary and Ed. She was an incredible woman and I was very blessed that she was the one who watched me in those early years. I'm sure there are countless people who have been blessed by Momma Mary.

  • Brittany Muriel

    I used to be one of the lucky children that Grandma Mary, what I used to call her, cared for at her daycare. I'm 31 years old and she used to take care of me from the time I was 1 years old to about 5 or 6. She made such an everlasting impression on me. I thought of her throughout my life especially when I would visit home in Wyoming. It is funny that the pea soup was mentioned because that was my favorite meal that she would make us. My mother and I cared for her very much. It saddens both of us that she is gone. I wish I lived in Wyoming so I could say my final goodbyes. Please know that Grandma Mary and her family are in my heart and prayers. With Love, Brittany Barela-Muriel Austin, TX

  • Allan & Sylvia Parvin

    Condolences- she had a lot of spunk. Miss she & Chuck.

  • Ken and Brenda Reitsma

    "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15. We love and miss you so much mom but take comfort in the fact that you are enjoying one of the best "family reunions" ever!!!!

  • Tena Rice

    Mama Mary was a wonderful, caring, and giving individual. My son had the priveledge to attend her daycare from the time he was four months old to the summer after his kindergarten year. During this time she became both a mother and grandmother figure to us which had an everlasting impact on our lives. I will treasure all the fond memories we have of her, from her homemade Macaroni and Cheese to her greeting me everyday with a smile. She was truly a beautiful soul. My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

  • Rachel McConnell

    She always gave the best hugs . She had a light about her that definitely inspired positivity and hard work. She sure had a lot of love in heart and it's a blessing to have know her.

  • Gail Nelson

    Mama Mary was our angel right here on earth. She cared for a grandson, Tanner, so his mother could finish her masters. She was absolutely THE BEST!! We all loved her dearly! Prayers to all her beloved family.?

  • Dr Teresa Rhodes

    Miss you so very much Mom! You were the best. Love you to the “moon and back” as you always said to me. Tres

  • Anonymous

    Our family will never forget Mary. I remember the fun we had going to Daycare Classes and the sweet tea and goodies she brought to share. One of my fondest memories are when we dressed exactly alike for the Churches grand opening .

  • Rachel

    Oh sweet Mary! Her home always smelled delicious and comforting! I remember when she took me shopping for new clothes and I felt so loved! I will remember her fondly and have imprinted my mind with her signature apple butter flavors! Rest In Peace. ?

  • Carles Sowers

    Mary was always Mary. She always made herself at home and was always looking for something to do. She lived the outdoors. She was a very energetic person.

  • Carola Whicker

    Aunt Mary will be greatly missed. She was well loved. My maternal grandmother said that she washed and ironed as much for Aunt Mary as she did my mother. Aunt Mary never forgot, she always dropped in on her whenever she was in town. That left a lasting impression of respect and love on me.

    • Dr Teresa Rhodes

      Where did she “wash and iron” for my mom? So sweet & kind of her for sharing her memories. Never heard that story before. Thanks so very much for taking time to share by writing this posting. Be blessed.


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