It is with heavy hearts that we sadly share with her many friends that, last Sunday evening, Mary Lou Kallinger left us for her heavenly home after a long, rich life. She was 87. She passed away from complications due to Alzheimer's and failing strength after a recent fall.
Mary Lou was born in 1935 in Dearborn MI to Leslie D. and Ruth Eliza (Conrad) Burgess. A gifted pianist and chorister from an early age, she studied music and organ performance at Albion College, where she graduated in 1957. It was while singing in the Albion College Choir that she met the love of her life, L. Ronald (Ron) Kallinger, of Cadillac MI. They were married in August 1958, and celebrated their 64th anniversary a few weeks before her passing. They had two children, two grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
Mary Lou enjoyed a long and fulfilling career as a church musician. Beginning in the early 1960s, she was organist at First United Methodist Church, then at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, both in Battle Creek MI. In 1968 she became organist and choir director at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, East Lansing MI. In 1972 the family moved west to Fort Collins CO, where she earned her Master's Degree in organ permormance at Colorado State University. The pinnacle of her career was the decade she spent, beginning in 1973, as organist at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Fort Collins, on a world class pipe organ installed there by Lawrence Phelps and Associates. This magnificent instrument was her pride and joy.
In 1986 she and Ron moved to Connecticut, where she first became assistant organist at Christchurch Cathedral in Hartford CT, then organist at St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Longmeadow MA. A few years later they moved north to Essex Junction VT, where she and Ron enjoyed the longest and happiest of their years in New England. There she spent time as organist at First Congregational Church, Middlebury, accompanist for the Burlington Oratorio Society, and shared organist duties at their home church, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Burlington.
At Ron's retirement in 2000 they moved to northern Utah, to be closer to their grandkids in Salt Lake City. Mary Lou ended her organ playing days at their beloved St. John's Episcopal Church in Logan UT. Health issues several years back spurred their relocation to Salt Lake City. After a few years, further health challenges prompted a move to their current assisted living facility at The Ridge Cottonwood in Holladay UT, where she ultimately spent her final days.
Mary Lou was known by all for her loving and gentle nature. No one was a stranger to her. She made friends easily everywhere she went.
Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents Leslie and Ruth Burgess. She is survived by her beloved husband Ron Kallinger, Holladay UT; son David Alan Kallinger (Judi), Millcreek UT; daughter Linda Ruth Kallinger (Wendy Shedd), South Burlington VT; brother Ray W. Burgess, Grand Rapids MI; grandson Nicholas Allan Kallinger (Jamie) and great grandson Marcus David Kallinger, West Valley City UT; and granddaughter Adriane Elyse Kallinger, Millcreek UT.
We are profoundly grateful to the director and staff at The Ridge Cottonwood for the love and care they have provided for Mary Lou, and the loving support they continue providing to Ron in his time of grieving and loss. We are also appreciative, beyond words, for the devoted and compassionate care provided to Mary Lou in her last months by Utah Home Health Care and Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, we invite donations in Mary Lou Kallinger's memory to the St. Paul's Food Pantry, 261 South 900 East, Salt Lake City UT 84102.
I'm so lucky to have met Mary Lou, she was a delight. Sending you love and hugs ~
Jennifer and Bella Franklin