1931 – 2018
Cookie baker extraordinaire, world’s best grandma, teacher, wife, and mother, Mary Lea Tischhauser passed away peacefully Wednesday, June 20, 2018 in her home overlooking her beloved Rogue Valley.
Mary was born at home in the southeastern hills of Missouri, the youngest of eight children. By the time the doctor arrived at the farmhouse after braving the March wind and snow, Mary had already entered the world. She entertained her family for decades with stories of her childhood growing up on the family farm. These tales covered thrilling escapes from wild turkeys chasing her to the outhouse; the sad ending of Paderewski her pet goat, who made the mistake of eating the laundry off the clothesline; and the game of “hide and seek” with her older brother, who would send her to “hide” then conveniently forget to “seek.”
Mary grew up in a home that valued education, and after graduating from Poplar Bluff High School, she moved to Tacoma, Washington and enrolled at the College of Puget Sound, where she earned her degree in business administration. There she also met Ernie Tischhauser, fell in love, and married. After graduating, they lived briefly in Moses Lake, Washington, moving to Ashland in 1954,after the birth of their daughter, Debbie. Four years later, daughter Lisa was born, and the family settled into Ashland life.
Never happy without a project, Mary went back to Southern Oregon College in 1964 and obtained her bachelor and master degrees in education. She joined the Ashland School District and taught at the elementary and middle school levels and later substituted, completing her career only a year ago, when she retired from testing students for accommodations at Ashland High School. She loved working with her students, who learned early that she probably wasn’t a teacher to mess with. One of her greatest joys was having former students stop her at various places around Ashland, reintroduce themselves and tell her, with a hug, what a positive difference she had made in their lives.
Mary experienced love a second time when she was introduced to Joe Dauenhauer, an Ashland rancher, whom she married in 1989. Mary and Joe loved adventure and traveled the world. Their shared farm backgrounds made them a good match, and together they helped deliver calves, slept in the back of pickups under the stars, made homemade jams and canned tomatoes, and fought seasonal battles against the prolific moles in their home garden.
Mary always urged her two girls to “FLY, because the sky’s the limit. Don’t let them tell you a girl can’t do that.” Thank you, Mom.
Of all her life roles, Mary loved being “Grandma Mary” best. She loved her five grandkids, and they loved her back. They are filled with great memories of Camp Grandma, spritz cookies, German chocolate cakes, rhyming words and math fact flash cards (she was a teacher, after all), picnics, tangled fishing poles, and late-night Aggravation games. Thank you, Grandma.
Mary treasured her circle of friends, and she worked hard to be there when they needed her, day or night, just as they always were for her. These include, in particular, her Ashland friends of 64 years, her P.E.O. sisters, and her fellow teachers and school staff from 50 years of teaching, substituting, and testing in the Ashland Public School District.
Mary will be deeply missed by her surviving family -- daughters, Debbie and Lisa; their husbands, David and Uli; and grandchildren, Vanessa, Maria, Kevin, Jackson, and Benjamin.
Mary was preceded in death by her husbands and by her infant son, Geoffrey.
A private celebration of life will be held at a later date.
In remembrance, Mary’s family hopes you will give generously to the Ashland Oregon Emergency Food Bank, 560 Clover Lane, Ashland, OR 97520.
Arrangements by Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home, 1811 Ashland Street, Ashland, OR.