Mary Anderson – Storm Lake Times Pilot

Mary M. Anderson, 99, of Storm Lake died June 17, 2022 in Pella.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, June 25, at 10 a.m. at Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake.

Mary M. Anderson was born on October 22, 1922, in Des Moines, the daughter of Elvin and Anne Kachel.

Growing up, Mary liked to go squirrel and rabbit hunting with her father. In her middle and high school years, she worked at her parents’ restaurant, Kachel Kitchen. She loved to ride a bike and skate. In high school, she competed on the swim team and became a diving champion. She would often find Mary sharing her gift of ice skating by performing for the city of Des Moines. She graduated from Des Moines North High School.

Mary married Noel Merrill Anderson on June 21, 1941. Their marriage was soon interrupted by Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II. Noel enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was assigned to basic training in Glendale, Arizona. Mary accompanied him and stayed in the accommodation provided for airmen’s wives. Noel then advanced to flight training in Marfa, Texas and Mary moved in with him, staying at the Indian Lodge at Davis Mountain State Park near Alpine. After advanced flight training, Noel was sent abroad to the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea, to fly C-47 transport planes. Mary then moved to California to be with her sister Bertie and her aunt BA to work in a factory on the line that made materials for the war effort.

After the war, Noel was offered a position as a pilot with Braniff Airways, but turned down the offer to spend more time with Mary.

Noel found employment with a company in Iowa working as a sales director. After several years, Noel decided to leave the company and go his own way. They made the risky venture, against all odds, to start Merrill Manufacturing based on his inventions in their one-car garage in Des Moines. In 1957, Noel, Mary, and their two sons, Merrill and Stephen, moved the small business to Storm Lake.

Mary thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and was active in many community activities and groups at Storm Lake. She was the perfect hostess and a fabulous cook with everything ornate, elegant and pretty. Even in the late 90’s, Mary could tell you how to make a delicious meal or tender roast by heart.

Noel and Mary enjoyed ballroom dancing and were filmed dancing at the Cobblestone Ballroom in Storm Lake for a commercial that aired on television. After building her new home on the South Shore, you could find Mary ice skating on the lake in her cute little skirt and her sweater.

Mary was always beautifully dressed as if she had just stepped out of a hat box as her life’s dream was to be a fashion designer. When Noel was abroad, he would send her money so she could save up for a fur coat, but instead he bought a sewing machine. She became a very accomplished seamstress, even creating a huge fabric backdrop called “Wave of Innovation” for a national Merrill trade show in the 1980s.

Mary and Noel traveled abroad to many different countries after their retirement. They served as US ambassadors to Australia as a team representing the US They spent winters in Sun City West, Ariz. and they spent many days on the golf course.

After Noel’s death in 2005, she continued to live in the same retirement community as her sister Claudia and was active in Bible studies and serving others.

In March 2022, she moved to Pella to be closer to family and was blessed with months of joy, spring beauty, and being able to see family regularly before she passed away on June 17 at Comfort House in Pella.

She will be remembered for her upbeat personality, perseverance, and sincere love for all who came in contact with her.

To treasure his memory are his children: Merrill (Dedra) Anderson of Denver, Colo.; and Steve (Jacqueline) Anderson of Storm Lake; seven grandchildren: Nathan (Karli) Anderson, Nick (Karen) Anderson, Whitney (Eric) Turner, Mitchell Anderson, Matt (Sarah) Anderson, Joel Anderson, and Holly (Dr. Michael) Walsh; 13 great-grandchildren; and Sister Claudia (Jimmy) Smith of Phoenix, Arizona.

Mary is preceded in death by her late husband Noel Anderson; and her sister Bertie (Del) Rundquist.