It is with great sadness that the children of Mary Lou Drotleff make known her passing Sunday evening, November 20th at home. She was 91.
Mary Lou was the daughter of Donald H. and Leona B. (Myers) Zellers and was born at home in Columbiana July 13, 1931. A lifelong Columbiana resident, Mary Lou graduated from Columbiana High School and attended Mount Union College.
While working at the old A&P store on Main Street in Columbiana that is now the AAA Building, she met her sweetheart and future husband Albert W. Drotleff. Mary Lou and Al went on to marry May 13, 1951 at the old First Christian Church on Friend Street in town. They later owned and operated Drotleff’s Golden Dawn Grocery Store in the plaza uptown in Columbiana.
She and her parents were lifelong members of the First Christian Church, and Al became a member once they were married. Mary Lou was actively involved in and treasured the fellowship of the Church family and friends there, the Women’s Priscilla Circle, the Quilting Group, and the U & I Adult Sunday School class which her mother, Leona, started and taught in the 1950s. She was especially close with former minister Clarence Mansfield and his wife Pat.
Mary Lou was most recently involved in Sisters of Faith, a Bible Study group that met at the Women’s Club in Columbiana. She was a devoted person of faith and enjoyed her morning cup of coffee with her “Our Daily Bread” reading to start the day, after her exercises at the kitchen counter.
She was a kind and graceful person with a giving and nurturing spirit. She was loving, patient, caring and thoughtful towards others and their needs. She was a great card and note writer and socially kept in touch with many cherished friends.
Mary Lou and Al enjoyed traveling through Gadabout bus trips with friends and saw many parts of the U.S. and Canada including Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. They also had some wonderful trips to Hawaii, Mexico, California, Florida, and several visits to European countries. As well, there were many fishing trips to Canada each Summer with our family and Mary Lou’s parents and her mother Leona’s parents. They enjoyed their card club friends and those special relationships lasted a lifetime.
In later years with daughter Mary Ann, Mary Lou and Al drove the “fan van” back and forth to high school band competitions every weekend in the Fall for 4 years and she served a stint as the Columbiana Band Booster President. She was generous with her time and was actively involved in the Historical Society of Columbiana Fairfield Township. She and Al enjoyed and closely followed their favorite sports teams through the years.
She was a wonderful homemaker and cook, making it look easy and always had a way with creating a cozy home for her family. She was an avid book reader, keeping track of her many novels through the years in a journal. She was youthful, engaged, intelligent, insightful and hard to beat at Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She had a great memory, was an interested and patient listener, and she remained up on events and enjoyed 2 daily newspapers. She was unique and she was lovely and she will be deeply missed by her family for our good times together in person and by phone calls and through cards and letters.
We, her children, are grateful for her life and the example she set for us of how to always take the high road and be the bridge builder. She was a positive influence in our own person walk with our Christian faith and we have been honored and fortunate to have her as our role model and mother for so many years.
Mary Lou was preceded in death by her husband Al who passed away October 6, 2019 and her parents Leona and Don Zellers who passed away in February 1999 and November 1999. They are all remembered fondly and continue to be missed.
Mary Lou (and Al) have 3 surviving children: Don (Kathy) Drotleff - San Francisco, Susan Drotleff - Columbiana, Mary Ann (Jon) Stephens - Columbus. Grandchildren: Grant Stephens - Columbus and Kit Stephens - Burlington, VT. Step Grandchildren: Tony (Jessie) Lowenstein and Chris (Stephanie) Lowenstein. Step Great Grandchildren: Carter and Cameron Lowenstein, and Parker, Sydney, Travis Lowenstein - all in California.
Also surviving is sister-in-law Shirley Bowen of Lehigh Acres, FL. Additionally surviving are many cousins of both the Zellers and Drotleff sides of the family.
We her children would especially like to express our profound thanks to Marti Noles who was a friend of our Mom at Church. We came to know Marti in the last few days during hospice together at home in Columbiana. We believe we experienced first hand God’s answers to prayer by having Marti so present and helpful to us during those precious last few days with our Mom. Thank you also for all the kind words and caring actions of many neighbors and friends. You have been a blessing to our family.
Funeral arrangements are through Seederly-Mong and Beck in Columbiana and will be held at the Funeral Home Monday, December 19th. Calling hours will be at 10am, with service to follow at 11am. Funeral procession to the cemetery Chapel in Columbiana will be followed by a meal served at the First Christian Church in Columbiana.
Mary Lou had a number of missions and interests she supported through the years. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to any of the following organizations:
Kulpahar Kids Home (Christian orphanage located in India)
c/o Ann Huffman
PO Box 32574
Phoenix, AZ 85064
Extend Intl. (Christian mission work in Thailand)
PO Box 5046
Kendalville, IN 46755
Hasten Intl. (Christian mission of health and salvation to every nation)
PO Box 344518
Homestead, FL 33034
Rescue Mission of Mahoning County (Christian Shelter, Food & Hope to those struggling)
1300 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Youngstown, OH 44510
Friends of the Columbiana Library
332 N. Middle Street
Columbiana, OH 44408
Family and friends are invited to visit www.seederly-mongandbeck.com to sign the guestbook or send private condolences.
Kulpahar Kids Home c/o Ann Huffman
PO Box 32574, Phoenix AZ 85064
PO Box 5046, Kendalville IN 46755
PO Box 344518, Homestead FL 33034
Friends of the Columbiana Library
332 N. Middle Street, Columbiana OH 44408
Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley
1300 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Youngstown OH 44510