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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Kaltenbach

My Mom's Obituary: Mary Lou Kaltenbach

Updated: Jun 21

Mary Lou Kaltenbach, 78, of Plano, TX, went to be with the Lord on February 4, 2023.

Mary Lou (Carpenter) Kaltenbach was born on December 25, 1944, in Seneca, KS, to Herbert and Berniece Carpenter. After graduating from Seneca High School, she enrolled at Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS, where she received a B.A. in English. While in college, Mary Lou joined Sigma Phi Omega, played in the band, and was on staff with the student newspaper, among other activities.

Following her college graduation, she earned an M.A. in English from Emporia State University in Emporia, KS, and completed some doctoral coursework at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

She taught English and Literature for several years at Emporia State University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and other schools. She was also a department manager and researcher for the Ellis Fischel State Cancer Research Center in Columbia, MO, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Unity Foundation in Kansas City, MO, and many other organizations.

While living in Emporia, Mary Lou married Carey Wilds Kaltenbach of Mullinville, KS. During the couple’s marriage, she gave birth to one child, Caleb Wilds Kaltenbach. Following the couple’s divorce, Mary Lou met her life partner, Vera Jean (McCoy) Elleson of Minocqua, WI. After Vera received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, she and Mary Lou moved to Kansas City, MO. They resided in the Kansas City area for 22 years until Vera passed away from cancer. Eventually, Mary Lou relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to be near family, as nothing was more important to her than family and friends.

During her life, Mary Lou was an outspoken advocate of human rights. A fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, she was thrilled to see them win Super Bowl LIV. Writing came naturally to her, as evident in the many articles, poems, and short stories she authored. In addition, she was a connoisseur of movies, the theater, classic literature, comedy, true crime stories, mystery novels & movies, political conversations, and Coca-Cola. She also enjoyed visiting Wisconsin and traveling to new places. Eventually, faith in Jesus Christ became a significant aspect of Mary Lou’s life. As she was able, she regularly attended the Penn Valley Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends in Kansas City, MO, Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, TX, and other church services and Bible studies.

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Berniece; brother, Larry Carl Carpenter; former husband, Carey; life partner, Vera; and sister-in-law, Martha Carpenter. She is survived by her son, Caleb; daughter-in-law, Amy; grandchildren, Joel and Rachel Kaltenbach; nieces, Erin Richardson and Emily Crockett; family members, Jim & Kay Elleson, Lia Joy Sparks, and Liz Calvert; as well as cousins, nephews-in-law, grandnieces, grandnephews, extended family, and friends.

She will be laid to rest in Seneca, KS on a date to be announced.


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