Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Obituary ~ Mary Alberta (Fulghum) Pearson
1922 ~ February 04, 2017

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
February 07, 2017

MASON CITY/FORT DODGE — Mary Alberta Fulghum Pearson left this life and entered eternal life on Feb. 4, 2017. Her sons, Ed and Fran, were with her at Paula J. Baber Hospice Home in Fort Dodge, where she spent the last four days of her life.

Mary was born in 1922 and grew up on a farm near Mason City, Iowa. She did all the things that farm kids and farm families did at that time. Many of those activities and the traits she learned have been passed on to her two sons and her grandkids. Following high school, she followed Stanley Long to California, where he was a Marine during World War II. They were married there. After he was discharged, they moved back to the Clear Lake area where they tried fairly unsuccessfully to farm. After their sons were born, they moved to Ames, and Stan attended Iowa State College. He eventually taught school, worked in industry and returned to teaching.

The sons remember living in 12 different houses before they graduated from high school. All that time, Mary worked at various secretarial and bookkeeping jobs to help feed the family.

She didn’t have much formal education after high school, but she was a very responsible and hard-working employee. She always had a smile, and never a harsh word, unless you tried to steal the asparagus out of the ditch in front of her house. After that marriage resulted in divorce, she moved back home to Mason City.

She met and married another farmer, Arnold Pearson. They established their home southwest of Mason City, and she lived the life of a farm wife while she also tended to the needs of her children and grandchildren. Arnie had three children from a previous marriage, Jeannie, Ellen, and Bill Pearson. Arnie’s kids and grandkids became hers, too. There was never any difference in her mind. She loved them all and was a quiet Christian model for all of the family. Mary and Arnie traveled a lot and they were very quick to visit and help their kids and attend their grandkids' events. She also cared for her mother, Genevieve Fulghum, as her health declined. Her father Willard Fulghum, had died in 1954, so his grandkids barely knew him.

Mary’s brothers, Bill and Russell Fulghum, took the place of Grandpa and always took care of and entertained Mary’s sons, Ed and Fran, on their farms. There were always cattle, hogs, and chickens to be cared for, and horses to be ridden. Ed Long currently lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his wife, Beth, where he is a semi-retired minister. Fran Long lives in Fort Dodge with his wife, Barbara, and is a semi-retired high school teacher.

Mary and Arnie were both very active members on Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City. They delivered communion to many of the shut-ins from the congregation. She loved to “neighbor” with people and her kitchen was always open.

Whenever Mary and Arnie would visit or be visited by family, upon arrival, her kids would be the first to ask, “OK, Grandma, where are your cookies?” Mary had a special recipe and knew she would be in trouble with many nieces, nephews, and grandchildren if she ever showed up without her famous cookies. After Mom’s and Arnie’s health declined, they moved to Kentucky Ridge in Mason City. Leaving the farm, where they had lived for 35 years together, was hard.

About two years ago, they moved to Fort Dodge and have lived at Bickford Cottages since then. They rode the church van to St. Olaf, and up until the recent cold spell, hardly ever missed church.

This past summer they celebrated Mom’s 94th birthday and Arnie’s 90th birthday, and their 40th anniversary. There were a lot of candles.

“Sweet Mary” is a name her caregivers had for her. The family is especially thankful for the health care professionals at Kentucky Ridge, Bickford Cottages, Unity Point, and hospice who cared for Mom. There is a special place in heaven for people that patiently work with the elderly.

There will be a visitation service from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Fort Dodge. A service honoring Mary’s life will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City with the Rev. Kathy Graves officiating.

Visitation will be 10 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the church.

A reception will follow the service and then interment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery in Mason City.

Mom loved flowers and we will have some at the service. In place of flowers, if you wish, please honor her with a donation to a favorite charity of your choice.

We are thankful for your memories and kind thoughts. Please share a chocolate chip cookie with friends and family in memory of Mary.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2017

 

 

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