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Mary Kathryn Uhrig
May 28, 1921 ~ October 21, 2023 (age 102) 102 Years Old
Mary Kathryn Uhrig, age 102, passed from this life on October 21, 2023. Born in Dayton, Ohio on May 28, 1921, Mary Kathryn was the daughter of the late Leroy and Lena (Karns) Fish. She lived with her family in North Manchester until 1941. She and her two sisters performed musical programs at the college. She played the violin, Phoebe Ann played the cello, and Ruth Lucille played the piano. They were thrilled to get a younger sister, Phyllis Evelyn, 10 years later. Mary Kathryn played her violin in the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and she sang in the A cappella Choir
After completing the first two years of her degree, Mary Kathryn married Frederick Cooper Jr. after he graduated, and they moved to Ames, Iowa. He began his short-lived teaching career, and their daughter was born the following year. In 1944, he enlisted as an Ensign in the Navy during World War II, because so many of his students were being drafted and it seemed fair to do so. Tragically, he was killed in 1945 off the coast of Iwo Jima during his first mission and was listed as missing in action. After eventually establishing his death, Mary Kathryn returned to Manchester College with the help of her parents as caretakers of her daughter. She was chosen as May Queen her junior year and graduated with a degree in secondary education in 1948.
In 1949, after teaching English and drama for a year, Mary Kathryn married her new love, Howard Uhrig. He adopted her daughter, who was a flower girl in their wedding, and they were happily married for 62 years. Howard served as a physics teacher and school administrator. Mary Kathryn changed her major to elementary education and taught mostly second grade for 28 years. They were parents to Rebecca and to their son John, who was born in 1951. They lived primarily in South Bend, Indiana, where they were very active in the Crest Manor Church of the Brethren. Mary was involved in School Men’s Wives, and American Association of University Women.
During that time, Mary Kathryn and Howard grieved the sudden loss of their son John, who developed mental illness after doing well in science classes in college. They became staunch advocates for mental illness organizations and made it possible for the Uhrig apartments to be built. They moved to Timbercrest in 2001 and resided in independent living for years before moving into the manor. Mary Kathryn sang in the Manchester Church of the Brethren choir, where they were active members. Later, she sang in the Timbercrest choir and led singing each week in healthcare. She also sang in duets and solos in chapel with her lovely high soprano voice.
The loving memory of Mary Kathryn Uhrig will be cherished by her daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca and Lowell Shearer; sister, Phyllis (Richard) Dusky; grandson, David (Trinity) Shearer; great-granddaughters, Kathryn (Dillion) Peters and Nigella Shearer-Wilds; and great-great-granddaughters, Charlie and Reese Elizabeth, who is due in December. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frederick Cooper Jr., parents, Lena and Leroy Fish, sisters, Anne (Wade) Theye and Ruth Blickenstaff; son, John Howard; husband, Howard Uhrig; granddaughter, Jennifer “Doc Jen” Nunnally; and great-grandson, David Cecil Nunnally.
A celebration of Mary Kathryn Uhrig’s life will be held at Timbercrest Chapel, 2201 East Street, North Manchester, Indiana, on November 10, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Karen Eberly and Pastor Amy Gall Ritchie officiating. The family of Mary Kathryn will receive friends following the memorial service.
For those who wish to honor the memory of Mary Kathryn Uhrig, a memorial contribution may be made to the Howard and John Uhrig Science Scholarship at Manchester University, 604 East College Ave., North Manchester, Indiana 46962.
Those unable to attend Mary Kathryn Uhrig’s memorial service, will be able to watch it on Timbercrest Senior Living YouTube channel.
The family of Mary Kathryn Uhrig has entrusted McKee Mortuary with care and final arrangements.