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Mary Jayne (Wright) Stiger
February 18, 1929 ~ October 19, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
Mary Jayne Stiger, 94, of Fisher, Illinois, passed away peacefully on October 19, 2023, during a cozy afternoon nap. Mary was born on February 18, 1929, in White Heath, the oldest of three children of Chester and Mildred Wright. Mary graduated from Mansfield High School in 1947, a few months after she eloped on March 1, 1947, with Merwyn, the love of her life. By the time Mary and Merwyn were 28 years old, they had four children, Tari, Jerry, Sharon, and Joe. Their 5th child, Susie, joined the family in 1971.
Mary and Merwyn owned and operated Stiger Construction Company, building apartments and homes in several communities in Central Illinois. They lived in a number of houses, Mary joking it was easier to move than do spring cleaning. They settled into their final home in Fisher in 1964, where Mary resided until July 2023.
Mary was an active member of the Champaign Urbana Sportsman’s Club, and the American Lutheran Church Rantoul where she enjoyed singing in the choir and socializing. She loved garage sales, fast food, and riding around Fisher with Merwyn and her little dog Ginnie in their road-worthy golf cart. One of Mary and Merwyn’s greatest joys was “taking a ride.” In the earlier years the rides lasted several hours and included a load of complaining kids in a Ford station wagon. Mary said it was easier to watch them when they were corralled. She orchestrated family vacations and camping trips that often involved a caravan: the Ford station wagon pulling the boat filled with luggage and groceries, followed by Grandma and Grandpa Stiger in their Ford Falcon.
Mary was an avid reader and when she passed the newspaper was open on her bedside table. She was a happy person with an intense interest in everything that was going on around her and a love of animals and children. She was a foster parent for many years, and worked as a nurse’s aid, a ward clerk, and for Hospice.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband Merwyn, who passed August 23, 2022, her daughter Susie Durflinger (Erik Paulson) of Catlin, and her sister Neva Summers (Richard) of Savoy.
Surviving Mary are her brother Robert Wright (Aggie), children Tari (Tim Mackin) Eitzen of Maui, Hawaii, Gerald (Cindy) Stiger of White Heath, Sharon (Maurice Paul) Wessman of Oracle, Arizona, and Joel (Melissa) Stiger of Weldon, fourteen grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren, with another on the way.
Mary recently said she looked in the mirror and wondered who the old lady was, and that the worst thing about getting old is that your friends die. Jamie, Christina, and Arbor Rose helped fill that void. Sincere thanks to Mary’s beloved friend and caregiver Jaime who enabled Mary to stay in her own home for an extra two years, to Christina who made Mary feel listened to and important. Thank you to Arbor Rose for their tender care during Mary’s final three months, and particularly for letting her use the office as if it were hers. A special shout-out to Mary Ann Heiser of Fisher, Mary’s lifelong friend, and to her neighbors who watched over her these final years.
Visitation will be held Saturday, October 28th at 10 a.m. at the American Lutheran Church, 500 Church St, Rantoul, followed by funeral service at 11. The Reverend Jeanette Thorpe will officiate. Burial will be at 2 p.m. at Mansfield Cemetery, Mansfield. Memorials may be made to the American Lutheran Church Rantoul.
Lux Memorial Chapel, Rantoul is handling the arrangements.