Mary Margaret (Harper) Storrs, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, friend, and generally great person was called to her eternal home on Friday, July 3rd, 2015. She was at home and at peace at her passing, spending her last moments with her husband, Stuart, her daughter Allison (Leever), and her son Jason when she moved on to be with her heavenly Father in that better place. In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by her son-in-law, Chad Leever and grandchildren Alex and Emily Leever, her brother Alan Harper and his wife Carolyn, of Parsons, Kansas, and their three children (Alana, Toni, and Cindy), her brother-in-law, Walter Storrs and his wife Sharon, of Troy, Michigan, and their three children (Suzanne, Walter, and Danielle) and by her sister-in-law, Kay (Storrs) Latta of Hannibal, Missouri and her two children (Trey and Amanda). Mary had a number of nicknames but was particularly fond of being called “Grandma” in recent years and also enjoyed being called “Auntie M” or “Emmy” by her nieces and nephews. She would often say she “loved her nieces to pieces” but had yet to come up with a similar response for her nephews.
She was born on September 24, 1945, in Santa Monica, California to Eugene D. and Lorraine Orr Harper who had moved to California from southeast Kansas so her Dad could work building planes for the WWII effort. Mary had faint but fond memories of her time in California including walks that somehow went by a See’s Candy Store and trips to Knott’s Berry Farms. In about 1955, Mary and her Harper family returned to the area, settling in Neosho, Missouri where she finished elementary school and went on to junior and senior high school in Neosho. Mary enjoyed the “small town” life of Neosho and got involved in horseback riding and rodeo. In 1963, she graduated from Neosho High School and remained in contact with a few classmates from this period. She then went on to college, attending both the University of Missouri and Crowder College before going on to Central Methodist University (CMU) in Fayette, Missouri and graduating in 1969 with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. During college, Mary became a member of Pi Kappa Theta, a local sorority, and enjoyed the social activities and opportunities it offered. After graduation, she remained in contact with several college classmates and enjoys sharing stories about attending college in the 60’s! With degree in hand, Mary then moved to Kansas City where her brother, Alan, had relocated a year or so before. It was through Alan that Mary came to meet her future husband, Stuart (Stu), that involved a “memorable” first meeting at a bowling alley that ultimately led to a loving and lasting relationship “Stu and M” were married on November 27, 1971, in Overland Park, and believed she had “married right” and, in her own words, was proud to describe herself as a “kept woman”. The couple moved to Florida for a few years where Allison was born. Allison, Stu and Mary then returned to Kansas City where Jason, known as “the boy” to some, was born.
She was a wonderful wife and homemaker as her children were growing up. Activities included family trips to her father’s farm in Parsons, taking her children to sporting activities, teaching them to sew and cook, and going to garage sales when possible. Summers often included family vacations to various locations around the U.S. while holidays typically included trips to Hannibal for 4th of July and Easter activities with the “Michigan Storrs” and Stu’s sister, Kay. Thanksgiving and, occasionally, Christmas, typically found her and her family visiting her parents and the farm in Parsons.
Mary undertook post-graduate study which led to certification in Library Science after her children had reached school age, which, in addition to being a homemaker, allowed her to work as a substitute teacher/librarian in the Shawnee Mission School District for many years. She also worked in seasonal positions at the Jones Store, Hickory Farms and Tobler's Flower Shop as a way to interact with other individuals as well as earn some “fun money”.
She was an avid and enthusiastic golfer, tennis player (in her younger days), bowler, and bridge player in several different groups over the years. She was also a talented seamstress who would, on her own initiative, assemble quilts and changing pads for newborns, make strap-on terrycloth golf cart seat covers for her golfing buddies (for isolation from the vinyl upholstery), knit club head covers for herself and others, and make various other "fun" items she liked and enjoyed sharing with others. She was an active participant in the groups she joined, honoring her Dad's basic philosophy that a person will get out of an organization only what they are willing to put it into it. As a result, she served in various roles on the boards of the golf leagues in which she participated and, with Stu’s support, acted as the coordinator for a large couple's bridge group.
She realized she was one of God's children and knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She was active in a number of parishes, primarily Methodist, over the years but found a true church home at Christ Church Anglican in Overland Park where she was humbled and honored to be selected to serve on its Altar Guild - and where her occasional mild irreverence and lighthearted nature helped put new members at ease; she was dearly loved by those with whom she served. She was also a long-term volunteer servant on the parish's Alpha Ministry Hospitality Team as well as being a Board member for two “tours” in support of the church’s its OPUS (older parishioners) activities group.
She will be sorely missed by her husband, family, friends and the many others whose lives were positively impacted (most likely unwittingly) by her demeanor, actions, and attitude. Mary fought breast cancer twice, first in 1998/99 and then in 2014/15. Perhaps the best example of her nature is her response to her bout with metastasized breast cancer which she set out to conquer. Without a doubt, it can be said that "she fought the good fight".
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Mary’s memory and to her honor to Christ Church, St. Paul's Food Pantry in KCK, the Mission of St. Luke, also in KCK, the United Way of Greater Kansas City, or a similar non-profit charity or medical research organization known with great certainty to be a frugal and good steward of God’s gifts, devoting the vast majority of its resources to fulfillment of the organization’s mission and to the services it provides.