Mary Elizabeth Lanciaux, age 96, passed peacefully late on Saturday, May 9, 2020 at the family farm in Fremont, Michigan surrounded by family. The sixth of fourteen children, Mary was born in Tomahawk, WI to Edmond and Mary Mitchell on April 13, 1924. After relocating to West Michigan, Mary attended St. Mary’s High School in Muskegon. Upon graduation, she joined the Dominican Order of Nuns as a novitiate cloister nun in Lufkin,Texas. After six years she felt called to return to Muskegon where she married the love of her life, Francis E. Lanciaux, on February 20, 1954.
Family and friends were the center of Mary’s life. She was known by many for her cooking and hospitality, as she joyfully used her culinary skills to the delight of all. Mary made homemaking look like a walk in the park. Some even said she could get a whole meal for ten on the table while others were still thinking about what to make.
Somehow she managed to orchestrate her youngsters to do their part on the farm, all the while finding ways to brighten up the daily lives of her children. She delegated all sorts of tasks, ranging from pasteurizing the milk straight from the cow and collecting eggs straight from the coop, to tending to the gardens by harvesting and canning. Using joint efforts, the fruits of her harvests were transformed into a sacramental culmination at mealtimes. Mary made it seem easy. Known also for her compassion, she served and hosted others in their time of need. Mary led others to enjoy arts, crafts, and music, through 4H photography clubs, homemade quilts, and by playing the accordion .
Mary had a way of turning ordinary events into remarkable celebrations whether it was Sunday dinner on fine china or harvest time picnics under the maple tree ending with homemade strawberry shortcake. She and Francis often hosted large family get-togethers, including everything from graduation receptions and baby showers to corn roasts.
After retirement, Mary and Francis spent the next 18 years as snowbirds in Arizona where Mary was very active in their retirement community. She loved having people come and share their winter home.
Her children recognize they learned so much of what is important in life from their mother. She will be forever missed, and she rests in the loving arms of her husband and savior.
Mary is survived by her eight children; Marie (John) McMahan of Edmond, OK, Joe (Debora) Lanciaux of Houston, TX, Francis (Laurie) Lanciaux of Grand Rapids, OH, Bernadette (John Fitzsimmons) Lanciaux of Pittsford, NY, Colette (Dennis) Kufahl of Montague, MI, Jim (Debbie) Lanciaux of Fremont, MI, JoAnn Wegert of Hart, MI, Cheryl (Kevin) Timmons of Leander, TX, sisters Bernadette (Ralph) Jacobson of Illinois, and Benita (William) Mikesell of Muskegon, MI; a sister-in-law, Lorraine Anderson of Rosemount, MN, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Francis Lanciaux her brothers; Audrey, Chester, Conrad, Nazare, Linus, and Elmo, as well as her sisters; Sr. Elaine Mitchell, Ramona Breitfeller, Imelda, Avis, and Gertude Mitchell.
Due to COVID-19, graveside service will be private with interment at St. Michael Church Cemetery in Brunswick (6382 S Maple Island Rd, Fremont, MI 49412) with a video of the live stream available through The Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home Website. In lieu of flowers, MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS may be made to St. Michael Church of Brunswick. You can sign the online guest book at www.kroeze-wolffis.com. Arrangements are by Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home, Inc. of Fremont.