Mary Alma (Mueller) Keirle, 96, a 42-year resident of Ballwin, Missouri and wife of 62 years of the late Gordon Carl Keirle, passed away June 8, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. Mrs. Keirle was born in Alton, Illinois on June 4, 1923, the daughter of a German immigrant glassblower, George Louis Mueller, and his wife, Helen Victoria Ott.
Mrs. Keirle was raised in Alton and graduated from Alton High School and Shurtleff College, then earned a Master of Science in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Early in her career she served as Registrar and Math Department Chair at Shurtleff where she taught her husband and other returning GIs. During that time, she was elected President of the Alton chapter of Soroptimist International and traveled to England and France as the group's U.S. representative. Mary's professional career later took her into the corporate sector as a mathematician in the aerodynamics department of Sverdrup & Parcel. Her husband's transfer with Shell Oil sent them to Decatur, Illinois where she taught at Millikin University. Another job transfer brought the Keirles to St. Louis and Mary's career turned to raising their two daughters, later returning to the classroom part time at UMSL and St. Louis Community College where she retired after 30 years. Mary's love for teaching and for her students was evidenced in the countless hours she spent tutoring anyone who desired to learn.
A dedicated volunteer for the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show, Mary first volunteered with the Trophy Committee in 1983 and became the Committee's Chair the following year, a position she held for 35 years. She served on the Horse Show's Executive Board as the Executive Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Corresponding Secretary, Chaired the Nominating Committee, is a member of the Hall of Fame, and in 2004 was awarded the Horse Show's August A. Busch, Jr. Spirit of St. Louis Award. Additionally, Mary was currently active in the GX chapter of P.E.O. International and the Ballwin Historical Society and previously the River Valley Garden Club, Welcome Wagon, Robinwood Garden Club, William Woods College Mother's Club, Academy of the Sacred Heart Mother's Club, and was a former Girl Scout Leader and active volunteer at her daughters' schools.
Mary had a smile for everyone. She loved people and a good party, and she and Gordon made lifelong friends wherever they went. Mary was passionate about anything math, dancing, history, art, fashion, animals, musical theater, Cardinals, and St. Louis. She supported many of the area institutions in St. Louis, as well as the Alton Historical Society. She was an annual participant in the Forest Park Hat Luncheon and in 2018, when the Muny celebrated 100 years, Mary celebrated, too. As a lifelong theatergoer, she and the Muny grew up together. Her greatest passion, however, was spending time with family, friends, and her four adoring grandchildren.
She lived her life with love and purpose, and so to, her death, passing on between Frank Sinatra singing, "Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today," and the middle of the Belmont Stakes race. The favored horse, War of Wills did not win this time, but WOW, what a Life Well Lived!
Survivors are daughters Alyson (Peter) Angus of Westport, Connecticut and Neale (Don) Rebman of Glendale, Missouri; four grandchildren, Andrew Angus, John "Jack" Angus, Peter Alex Angus, and Berkeley Rebman; sister-in-law, Jeanne T. Keirle of Bridgeton, MO; first cousin, George G. Ott of Fort Worth, TX; and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, "honorary daughters and sons," and treasured friends of all ages. Brother, Dr. George Mueller, predeceased Mrs. Keirle.
Mary's family wishes to extend a very special thank you to the compassionate care assistants who helped her these past two years to continue enjoying the activities and travel she loved.
A celebration of life program, followed by a reception, will take place on Sunday, July 14, 2019, from 3-6 p.m., at Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108. Interment will be in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO on Monday, July 15, 2019, at 11:15 am.
In honor of Mary's extraordinary contributions to the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show, the Grand Prix will be renamed in her honor. Memorial donations may be made in her honor to: St. Louis National Charity Horse Show (benefitting Stray Rescue and TREE House of St. Louis), 288 Howell Road, Defiance, MO 63341 www.stlhorseshow.com
Mary's final act of giving was the donation of her healthy brain to Dr. Randall Bateman's Alzheimer's research. Memorial donations may be made in her honor to:
Washington University School of Medicine, Lab of Dr. Randall Bateman, Attn: Alexandra Carr, CB 1247, 7425 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63105 www.neuro.wustl.edu/labs/bateman_r