Published in the Pine City Pioneer, Feb. 26, 2010
Mary Terese Hodge Lackie, 82, a native of Pine City, Minnesota, departed this life on February 24, 2010. The end came peacefully at her home in Redlands, California, where she had made her residence for the past six years. She was pre-deceased by her parents Webster and Quin Hodge, her husband Frank Lackie and her sister Suzanne. She is survived by daughter Susan Schaeffer of Rock Hill, South Carolina; sons William Lackie and wife Jody of Amite, Louisiana, Dan Lackie of Huntington Beach, California, and John Lackie and wife Brenda of Fredericksburg, Virginia; grandchildren Joseph Schaeffer and wife Lorian of Pasadena, California, Frances Schaeffer and husband Jonathan Adams of San Francisco, Emily Schaeffer, also of San Francisco, and Meredith, Daniel, Caleb, and Timothy Lackie, all of Fredericksburg, Virginia; siblings Fred Hodge and wife Mary Ann of Everett, Washington, Carrie Sheehan and husband John of Redlands, California, and Ann Cowmey and husband Bill of Star, Idaho, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mary was born in Minneapolis on September 13, 1927, and spent her early years in Pine City, where her family resided in the home her grandfather built on the shores of Cross Lake. As a child she raised chickens and cared for her dogs and her horse, Pete. She graduated from Pine City High School in 1945, and received her Bachelor’s degree in English and History from Marquette University in 1949. She married Frank Lackie at The Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 21, 1950, and left her beloved Pine City to make her family’s home in Minneapolis, and later, St. Paul, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1964, where she resided until Frank’s passing in 1982. A successive series of moves subsequently found her residing in Panama City, Florida; Edina and Duluth, Minnesota; and finally Redlands, California.
Mary was a devoted wife and mother, an avid reader, gifted decorator and gardener, and artful writer. Her home was frequently filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies, cakes, and other homemade treats, often from recipes handed down from previous generations of family. She was famous for her hand-beaten chocolate fudge, a recipe of the late Marge Buselmeier. Many were the children and guests who visited her home with eager anticipation of the delightful baked goods waiting on the kitchen counter and gourmet meals in the dining room.
Wherever she lived, her home was comfortable, inviting, and tastefully decorated with interesting heirlooms, early American antiques, and family artifacts, each of which had a story she would gladly share if asked. She maintained a keen interest in family history, and always retained her love for her native Pine City, returning as often as she could through the years to visit her lifelong friends and walk the familiar paths of her beloved hometown.
In Atlanta, she was for several years a reporter and photographer for the Diocesan newspaper “The Georgia Bulletin.” Her writing frequently dealt with the lives of interesting characters and public figures across the state. Later, she completed her Masters Degree in English at Georgia State University, and pursued a career in teaching, first as a substitute teacher for Atlanta Public Schools, then as a full-time reading teacher at the Downtown Learning Center, where she took an active interest in the lives of her students, providing counsel and assistance inside the classroom and in practical ways outside.
In addition to her writing and teaching vocations, Mary cultivated a variety of skills and interests throughout her life. While living in the Twin Cities, she was an amateur actress at the Edythe Bush Theater in St. Paul. She worked as a volunteer promoting the campaign of African-American activist Katie McWatt for City Council in St. Paul in 1964.
Mary was an enthusiastic gardener, cultivating a wide range of ornamental plants and shrubs inside and outside her homes. She had a particular skill in raising varieties of fern and ivy plants. She was renowned for her decorating ability, and she had an expert hand in the practical arts of wallpapering, painting, picture framing, refinishing and design, and in a wide range of homemaking crafts.
Mary was an avid, lifelong reader, delighting especially in early 20th century British and American literature and history, and biographies of European, and especially British, royalty.
She delighted in entertaining friends, and her generous hospitality was visited upon a long list of friends, family, and acquaintances over the years. Her correspondence was an extension of this hospitality – she liked nothing better than crafting a long, newsy letter and including it in a packet of newspaper clippings, photos and recipes for some lucky relative or friend.
Mary received support and assistance in her last years in Redlands from her sister and brother-in-law, Carrie and John, her niece Mary, and her neighbors Jean, Laura, and Marge.
A determined fighter when rallied to a cause, she overcame a series of illnesses and injuries. Only two years ago, to the astonishment of her physicians, she recovered from a terminal diagnosis of melanoma, and rebounded to health with hardly a trace of the cancer remaining. In the end, it took a combination of a weakened heart, diabetes, and pneumonia to overcome her. And she spent her final hours surrounded by family.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, in Huntington Beach California, on March 2nd at 11:00 a.m. A private reception for family will follow. Plans are being made for a later memorial service in Pine City and interment to follow at Birchwood Cemetery.