In Loving Memory of Mary Ann Pranger
Written by Jesse Baalman
Mary Ann Pranger, 80, passed away at 9:25 a.m. Monday, February 10, 2019 at Jersey Community Hospital after a brief battle with gastric cancer. Mary Ann was born to Herbert Bertman and Doris (Ruyle) Bertman on November 8, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. One of seven children, Mary Ann grew up in Jerseyville where she graduated from St. Francis Xavier Grade School in 1953 and Jersey Community High School in 1957.
While working periodically at her family’s clothing store, Mary Ann’s passion for service began at Bertman’s Department Store. Mary Ann wasn’t able to save much of the money she made as she spent most of it on clothes from the store for her children. The store, which began in 1902, was truly a family affair with all siblings chipping in after the death of their father in 1958. It wasn’t until 1960 when Mary Ann met the love of her life, Lawrence “Larry” Pranger of Carrollton, IL. The couple, who met at Bush’s Bowling Alley, married on December 26, 1961 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. The couple was devoted to each other in marriage for 59 years.
Larry and Mary Ann then quickly moved to Fort Lewis, Washington, where Larry had been stationed on his first Army Duty assignment. It was during this period in which Larry said he knew their bond was strong enough to last a lifetime. Their home of over 50 years is located on West Barr Avenue in Jerseyville. Nestled among old trees on a private road, Mary Ann often described it as living in a forest in the middle of town. She loved to watch out her window from the comfort of her couch, especially to see her children and later grandchildren return from school across the field. Inside and out, her home is the utmost expression of herself.
Mary Ann lived to serve others. She was the Auxiliary President at Jersey Community Hospital for three years while also volunteering in the gift shop. She completed a term on the St. Francis Holy Ghost School Board and was a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society. She was a longtime altar society member at St. Francis, where she was tasked with calling individuals to prepare food for funeral dinners. Mary Ann was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and faithfully prayed the rosary on Monday nights with her fellow parishioners. She sold religious items for several years to individuals looking for gifts for Holy Sacraments. Mary Ann enjoyed personally picking out these items to sell, and just recently received a new shipment of items to her house. She believed it was the work of God to get religious items out in the community.
Mary Ann is beloved to many members of her parish community, especially Judy Holmes, Terry Kallal and Joy Molloy. These ladies kept her active, often taking her on trips to various shopping outlets and restaurants. Recently they took Mary Ann to St. Charles, Missouri to celebrate her 80th birthday, having cake behind the counter of a gift shop. These ladies instilled in her a sense of excitement, confidence and passion for life that was infectious to others.
A timely decision made by God, Mary Ann was selected for the appropriate honor of the St. Francis Xavier Parish “Woman of Distinction” for 2019. Mary Ann, a large group of family members and some close friends attended the mass for these individuals at the Springfield Diocese. Mary Ann was elated to meet and have her picture taken with the Bishop of the Diocese.
Mary Ann spent her last few days surrounded by her family at the Jersey Community Hospital. While there, she was cared for by skilled, caring and kind nurses and staff members. Her family received comfort knowing that she was in such capable hands and that she was able to be “home” for those last days.
Mary Ann is survived by her husband Larry; children Scott (Catherine) Pranger of Franklin, Tennessee, Robert (Louann) Pranger of Jerseyville, Maria (Anthony) Baalman of Jerseyville and Rick (Sara) Pranger of Jerseyville; grandchildren Joshua, Jonah, Jesse, Kadiah, Jackson, Harrison, Addison and Rylan; brothers Charles (Kathryn) Bertman of Jerseyville, late John (Margie) Bertman of Wesley Chapel, Florida; sisters Patricia (Ronald) Turner of Kane, Marilyn (late Lawrence) Davis of Jerseyville; sister-in-law Karen Bertman of Jerseyville; brother-in-law David Pranger of Indianapolis; and sisters-in-law Jane Ann Wuellner of Alton and Barbara Pranger of Indianapolis.
Mary Ann was preceded in death by her father and mother, Herbert and Doris Bertman; brothers John and Robert Bertman and toddler sister Carolyn Bertman; brothers-in-law Dr. Jude Caselton and Tom Wuellner; sister-in-law Mary Kay Caselton; and father-in-law and mother-in-law Herbert and Margaret (Whalen) Pranger.
The visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday February 13 at Crawford Funeral Home in Jerseyville.. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 a.m. Friday February 14 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Jerseyville, with Father Martin Smith and Father Hyland Smith officiating. Mary Ann will be laid to rest in the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery in Jerseyville, with a luncheon following at Knights of Columbus Hall in Jerseyville. Memorials may be given to St. Francis Xavier Church or the Jersey Community Hospital.
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