Mary Lou Landis, 88, of Polo, died at Serenity Hospice and Home on Oct. 18, 2012. Mary suffered a brain aneurysm on Sept. 20, but, until that time, had been a very active and vibrant member of the community. Services were Oct. 23, at St. Marks Lutheran Church, Polo. Burial was in Fairmount Cemetery, Polo. A visitation was Oct. 22 at Polo Family Funeral Home. A memorial is established to SPLC, Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 or to Serenity Hospice and Home, 1658 South IL Rt. 2, Oregon, IL 61061.
She was born on Feb. 25, 1924, in Kewanee, the daughter of Elmer E. and Elizabeth (Bennison) Anderson. Her grade school years were spent in Annawan. She graduated from Geneseo High School in 1942 and enjoyed her 70th class reunion this summer. She attended the University of Iowa, leaving school when she married Garland Grace. Her first marriage produced four children, Georgena (Martin) Hartlieb of Rockford, Terry (Judy) Grace of Oak Park, Gloria (Rich) Osmer of Dixon and Mary Beth (Tim) Oswalt of Dixon. After her 1966 divorce, Mary completed her bachelor's and master's degrees at N.I.U., DeKalb.
She was employed for 14 years at Singer Mental Health Center and 14 years at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. She was a community outreach worker until her retirement in 1997. She added five more children to her family when she married widower, Kenesaw Mountains Landis in 1973. They were married for 38 years before his passing in 2010. Surviving step children are Kay (Bill) Abner of Rock Falls, Carla (Jim) Rowe of Garland, Texas, Jeannie Landis of Lanark, Lana (Bill) Haydarry of Rockford and Randy (Donna) Landis of Milledgeville.
She was a long-time activist for the Democratic Party and served as chairperson for the Ogle County Democrats. She served many years on the Polo City Council. She was a 58-year member of the Polo United Methodist Church, serving as trustee. She organized a Caregiver Support Group. She also served as treasurer of the Polo Council of Churches (Second Hand Rose) since its inception in 2000. Although she was extremely active in the community, Mary's first love was family and friends. She had a deep, abiding faith in God. She remembered all her children and spouses with cards on birthdays and anniversaries and also her beloved 21 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.