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1923 Mary (Maryl) 2024

Mary (Maryl) Louise Hitchcock

June 3, 1923 — March 2, 2024

Mary L. (Louise) Hitchcock (Maryl) passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on March 2, 2024. Maryl was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on June 3, 1923. Parents were Lowell Diltz Thompson of Salem, Iowa and Mary Charlotte Nelson of Marquette, Michigan. Maryl was the oldest of 3 siblings, Jean Elizabeth Thompson and David Lowell Thompson. Maryl attended Fratt Elementary School and McKinley Jr. High School where her father (L.D.) taught all 3 science courses. Since all students were required to take at least one semester of general science, Maryl had her father as a teacher. Maryl went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a BS degree in Home Economics Education from the college of Agriculture. With a minor in chemistry, Maryl accepted a civil service job at the army base in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. As a food chemist, she tested dry food for overseas military use. After a year of that work, World War II was coming to a close and all labs were being transferred to Nebraska. There was a need for serologists since all army personnel had to be medically tested before discharge. For the next year Maryl worked as a serologist.

With plans to get married in the fall of 1947, she returned to Racine where she and Robert C. Hitchcock were married at Atonement Lutheran Church on September 22, 1947. After a brief honeymoon at the family cabin near Marquette, they moved to Badger Village, a veteran’s housing project for students near Madison. Robert enrolled in the electrical engineering program. Maryl accepted a teaching job in Wisconsin Dells, commuting the 25 miles each way daily. The veterans rode the old yellow school buses from Badger Village to the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus, about 35 miles each way. Knowing that Robert would graduate mid-year and be ready to leave for a job, Maryl enrolled in the graduate program and began work on her master's degree. Robert started working in Gary, Indiana after graduating in January of 1950, while waiting for a position to open up in Green Bay, which he really wanted and Maryl continued at Madison. In May 1950, Maryl graduated with a MS in Home Economics and Robert moved to Green Bay and lived at the YMCA. Maryl and Robert were back together and moved into an apartment on South Quincy Street.

After a year there, while Maryl taught Home Economics in Wrightstown and Robert worked at Wisconsin Public Service, they rented a house on the bay. In 1952, son David Reid Hitchcock was born while there. When Dave was 3 years old, Maryl and Robert bought the house at 2017 S. Webster Avenue. Daughter Ann Elise was born in 1956 and Alison Jean in 1958. The family moved to De Pere in 1965. After Ann and Alison were in school full time, Maryl worked several different jobs over the years which included working with at home students with physical and emotional handicaps, H.C. Pranges under cover researching competitors fur coats, taught children at the unwed mother’s school Marion Hall, had her own TV cooking show, substitute teacher at Edison School and Southwest High School then started teaching full time at Southwest High School in the Home Economics Department. Her first year of teaching at Southwest High School, Maryl was awarded the honor of “Teacher of the Year.” She was the first female teacher ever to have received this award. Her students referred to her as “Ma Hitchcock” and loved her dearly. Maryl taught at Southwest until she retired at age 63. She was married to her beloved Robert C. Hitchcock for 75 years. About 7 or so years ago Dr. James Warpinski asked Maryl if she would consider speaking to the medical students at the MCW branch of the Medical College of Wisconsin located on the St. Norbert’s campus, so she started doing that. Usually there were second or third year students that were doing an accelerated program of four years of medical school in three years. Maryl was free to speak on anything but they were studying aging so she spoke on issues related to that and continued until November 2023. There were also social work graduate students who attended. It was to teach how social work and medicine can be integrated together for patient care. 

 Maryl turned 100 years old on June 3, 2023. Maryl was also actively involved in AAUW (Green Bay branch) for over 70 years, League of Women Voters, Brown County Home Economics Association, 4H Leader, Civic Music Membership Drive, Girl Scout / Brownie leader, a member of the Retired Teacher's Association, VASA (held position of secretary), member of the Methodist Church and on the YMCA Synchronized Swim Team. Maryl enjoyed time with family, cooking, reading, art, poetry, traveling, bird watching and spending time with friends. She also enjoyed going to the family cabin for the last 92 years on the shore of Lake Superior.

Maryl was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and aunt. She was a mentor and confidant to an endless number of friends and students during her lifetime. Maryl had a unique ability to engage in conversation, listen and be nonjudgemental. Maryl left a legacy of kindness, love and selflessness that was appreciated by everyone she came in contact with.

 Maryl is preceded in death by her husband, Robert C. Hitchcock and son, David Reid Hitchcock. 

 She is survived by daughters Ann Laes and Alison Hitchcock; granddaughter Mirra Laes, grandson James Hitchcock, granddaughter Julia Laes Anderson (husband Trever Anderson), granddaughter Jeanene Hitchcock Brown (husband Chappell Brown), grandson Jeremy Hitchcock, and great grandchildren Alice and Harry Brown.

Special thank you to caregivers Sally Bunker and Shelly Gillis for your compassion. Thank you to Unity Hospice for all your fabulous work and the care and kindness that is provided to families. Thank you to Maryl’s very special close friends: Sara Ramaker, Mary Barker, Janice McCarthy, Bob Sorenson, Tim LeSage, Ken Perez, Sophia Krans, Kim DeCleene and niece Laurie Lawlor for making Maryl laugh and love life.

A private family ceremony will be held in the future.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary (Maryl) Louise Hitchcock, please visit our flower store.


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