Mary Ann "Red" Kreitlow, 75, of Hailey, Idaho, peacefully fell asleep in death in the loving presence of her daughters, Valdi and Jamie. Born Mary Ann Day to Leo and Ruth Day on Dec. 30, 1931, Mary Ann was one of nine children.
As a city girl from Minneapolis, Minn., her dream at the age of 8 was to move out West, marry a cowboy, and have eight children, and so she did. The love of her life, Jack Kreitlow, was a farm boy from Buffalo, Minn. His dream as a boy was to go out West and become a cowboy, and so he did. Dreams do come true. Mom and Dad met out West. The first time Dad set eyes on Mom, he thought she looked so cute in her pin curls. Mom's first impression was that Dad was the most handsome man she had ever seen in her whole life. He looked like a movie star to her.
After a brief courtship, the shy cowboy simply asked Mary Ann, "Don't you think we should spend the rest of our lives together?" And what a life they shared, until Jack's untimely death in 1976. To this 6-foot-2-inch easy-going cowboy, and this 5-foot-2-inch sassy city girl were born eight beautiful daughters. From the youngest to the eldest, they are: Jonette (Sam) Sadiq of Papillion, Neb.; Jamie Hale of Twin Falls; Beth Staley of Woods Cross, Utah; Karen Warner of Ketchum; Jackie Marshall of Elko, Nev.; Kim (1954-2005) (David) Byington; Valdi (John) Pace of Hailey; and Ruth Ruiz of Hailey.
Asked what her greatest accomplishment was, Mary Ann replied, without hesitation, "Having my eight daughters!" In her younger years, Mary Ann often stated with full assurance, "I know that when I grow old, my daughters will not abandon me." How true that proved to be. All rallied to her support, in her own way, and right to the end.
Always a hard worker, Mary Ann took great delight in gardening, canning, baking and sewing for her family. Dad literally brought home the bacon ... and the fish, the ducks, the geese, the venison ... and Mom's talent for cooking wild game rivaled the greatest of chefs. Some of Mom's happiest hours were spent in the kitchen lovingly preparing delicious and bountiful Sunday dinners and holiday feasts of roast goose or home-grown fried chicken with all the trimmings, always including her fluffy homemade yeast rolls, the legendary stuff for which relatives would drive hundreds of miles to partake of, mouths watering all the way. What a treat to visit "Red's" house.
Many of Mary Ann's daughters followed in her footsteps as talented cooks and bakers, although some things just can't be copied, for these gifts were unique to Mary Ann, and the love she poured into them.
Mom was not comfortable with long, pretentious praising. She was imperfect (aren't we all?). From the outside she may have seemed very ordinary, but to us and those she touched, she was far from that.
Mary Ann was a fun-loving gal, witty, humorous, with an infectious laugh, and a wonderful dancer, a snappy dresser. She enjoyed all types of music, including rock 'n' roll. She loved her sisters, and especially adored her brothers. She spent many, many years loyally caring for her dear mother. In Mom's later years, she pushed through her fear of flying to enjoy a trip to England and Scotland for a most memorable visit with her youngest daughter and family.
Among Mom's greatest sorrows was the unexpected death of her beloved Daddy, when she was 16. Another heartbreak was becoming a young widow and having to say goodbye way too soon to her one and only true love, her handsome cowboy. Most recently, she suffered the loss of her darling daughter, Kim Byington, in death on March 31, 2005. Mary Ann was preceded in death by her father, mother, husband, a brother, three sisters, four nephews, and three grandbabies. She is survived by three brothers, one sister, sixteen grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, with more on the way, and many nieces and nephews.
Mom never felt a lack from not having sons, as indeed she was blessed with many grandsons, nephews, and there were sons-in-law who held a very special place in her heart. A part of her will live on in each one touched by her. Many of Mary Ann's grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other family members traveled great distances to pay tribute to her while she could still enjoy it.
We can take great comfort in knowing that Mom's Creator does know and understand the intimate details of her life from the beginning to the end. It is he who truly perceives what made her the way she was, and it is with full trust and confidence we can be at peace, knowing that Mary Ann and her future lies in the memory of such a loving, wise God.
Memorial services will be at 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23, 2007, at the Wood River Chapel in Hailey. Cremation preceded the services, and interment of her urn will be beside her husband later this summer. The family suggests donations in her memory to Hospice of the Wood River Valley, P.O. Box 4320, Ketchum, ID 83340 or the charity of the donor's choice.
Arrangements are under the care of Wood River Chapel of Hailey, Idaho.