Mary Louise Shannon, 71

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mary Louise Shannon, 71

Mary Louise (Sanders) Shannon, 71, of Ostrander, Minnesota, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, surrounded by loved ones in her Lake Dallas, Texas, home.

Mary was born March 25, 1947, in Spring Valley, Minnesota, to Harold and Doris (Nelson) Sanders. She grew up in Ostrander and attended high school in LeRoy, Minnesota, graduating in 1964. On Oct. 5, 1963, Mary married her high school sweetheart, Vinal F. Lancaster. They made their home in Waterloo, Iowa. They were blessed with three children, Todd, Tony and Vicky. They later divorced and remained friends until his passing in October 1971. On July 20, 1971, she married Robert A Widdel Jr. They were blessed with two children, Jennifer and Bradley. They later divorced and continued their friendship until his passing in December 2018.

In 1973, Mary opened “The Handmade Gift Shop.” She had many skilled, crafty suppliers, including her mother, Doris. After the shop closed, she continued to travel to craft shows and set up booths for many years. In 1988, Mary moved to Lake Dallas with James P. Shannon. On July 30, 1989, Mary and Jim were married in their home. Mary attended Brookhaven College and graduated with honors on May 7, 1992, with an Associates Degree in applied sciences. Together, Mary and Jim enjoyed tent camping, horse races at LA Downs, and traveling the U.S., Mexico and Canada. They attended many auctions, which led to selling antiques and collectibles on eBay for several years. They also attended many regional and state conventions for the 40 & 8 Veterans Organization, in which Jim held almost every office over the years. In 1998, they purchased an acreage near Ostrander and began restoring the 1880s farmhouse. After retirement, they divided their time between Texas and Minnesota.

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Over the years, Mary enjoyed reading, jigsaw puzzles, music, cooking, traveling, crafting, collecting, couponing, rebating, dumpster diving with friends, practical jokes, doing sweepstakes, going to thrift stores, garage sales and auctions, playing cards (“65”) and trying to beat her mother and her daughter, Vicky, at Scrabble. Most of all, she enjoyed all the get-togethers with family and friends at “the farm.” Mary also had a special love and bond with animals and enjoyed caring for her cats over the years. She always had stories to tell of all their shenanigans.

Mary is survived by her four children, Todd (Desiree) Lancaster of Park Rapids, Minnesota, Vicky Lancaster of Spring Valley, Jennifer Heimsness of Gainesville, Texas, and Bradley Shannon of Spring Valley; eight grandchildren, Chris, Cody, Courtney, Timothy, Stephanie, Caitlyn, Chelsie and Damon; eight great-grandchildren, Gabriel, Harley, Hayden, Jayden, Kinley, Adelaide, Treyson and Casey; two brothers, Harold Sanders Jr. and John Sanders; sister, Carol White; brother-in-law, Richard Shannon; three sisters-in-law, Linda Sanders, Bonnie Sanders and Marylou Wangen; and her beloved 17-year-old cat, Annabelle. Mary was preceded in death by an infant son, Tony; her husband, James Shannon; brother, Steven Sanders; and her parents.

At Mary’s request, a graveside service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at the Ostrander Cemetery. Condolences or memorials may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 368, LeRoy, MN 55951.