February 8, 2023

Mary Ellen (Jennings) Maschmeier

Mary Ellen (Jennings) Maschmeier 
On a cold winter’s day, December 27, 1925, Mary Ellen Jennings made her appearance to parents Ray and Emma Wood Jennings near Hickok, Kansas. The second of five children, Mary Ellen attended school in Satanta and Wichita, Kansas, and graduated high school at the age of 16 in Perryton, Texas. She returned to Perryton after attending business school in Wichita, where she later met Charles Maschmeier, a handsome musician farm boy. Mary Ellen always loved to dance, and not surprisingly, they met at a dance where Charles was playing in the band. They fell in love, despite the first impression Charles made on Mary Ellen’s mother, as he had dripped chocolate ice cream on his shirt earlier. With an entourage of friends following behind, Mary Ellen and Charles made the trek to Beaver, Oklahoma after a dance on July 22, 1944, rousting the judge from his snug bed so that they could be married. 

Together, they made their home in Liberal, Kansas and rural Turpin, Oklahoma. After nearly six years of being childless, and thinking that perhaps children were not in their future, they welcomed the first of what would be six children in April of 1950. What followed was many years of love, laughter, and the kinds of adventures you can only have with a loving home with a mother who could outwork most men, keep house, and set a table with delicious hot meals for her family. As a true Proverbs 31 wife, her day was not over just because her family was in bed. Saturday evenings, while Charles played for dances, would find Mary Ellen baking a cobbler for Sunday’s dinner, pin curling four little girls’ hair, shining eight pairs of shoes, ironing eight sets of clothes, and ensuring that her family was ready for the 8:00 a.m. services at Grace Lutheran Church in Liberal, Kansas. Sunday mornings, before church, she would often prepare for Sunday’s lunch, which might be just her family of eight, but often included beloved friends dropping by, who would never leave hungry. Mary Ellen was known as Granny, not just to her grandchildren, but to nearly everyone who came into her life. 

Mary Ellen had either a child or grandchild in the Turpin School System for fifty consecutive years, and she attended nearly all of their various events, taking pride in their accomplishments. Mary Ellen was content to let herself be outshone by her children, grandchildren, and husband, although she was an accomplished poet, seamstress, dancer, cook, and entertainer. Following the passing of her beloved husband, Charles in February of 1988, she made lasting friendships through the organization, Singles in Agriculture, serving several terms on both the Oklahoma Chapter Board as well as being elected to the National Board. She was a member for over twenty years. 

Mary Ellen was welcomed into Heaven early morning on May 21, 2015, reuniting with her husband, Charles, her son, Robert, granddaughter Alexa Ille, her parents Ray Jennings and Emma Schwab, brother Bud Jennings, sisters Lou Rae Hudson and Emy Singhisen, and a host of extended loved ones. Missing her dynamic presence are her children Annette Ille and husband, Larry; Johnnie Maschmeier and wife Jill; Lou Ella Regier and husband, Marlin; Cara Beth Maschmeier; Teresa Williams and husband, Kevin; daughter-in-law Linda Trujillo; thirteen grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, as well as the numerous lives she touched in her short 89 years. 

A celebration of the joy that was Mary Ellen will be held at her church, Grace Lutheran Church at 11th and Western in Liberal, Kansas on Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Andrew Wehling presiding. The family has requested for everyone to wear something bright to honor Mary Ellen. A private family burial will be held at Liberal Cemetery. 

Visitation will be 9 am – 5 pm Saturday and 1 – 5 pm Sunday at Brenneman Funeral Home in Liberal. 

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Mary Ellen Maschmeier Memorial fund in care of the Brenneman Funeral Home 1212 W. 2nd Liberal, KS 67901.