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Mary Lou Conover

Obituary for Mary Lou Conover

April 11, 1926 - April 17, 2020
Oswego, Illinois | Age 94


Mary Lou Conover, 94, of Oswego, passed away April 17, 2020. She was born April 11, 1926, in Plainfield, Indiana. She was the fifth and last child born to Jesse J. and Althea Thomasson, and spent her first 5 years in the family's traditional Quaker community in Plainfield, Indiana. When the family moved to Aurora in the early 1930's, there was no Quaker meeting, and the family joined the Methodist church, but retained many Quaker practices. Mary Lou went to Nancy Todd Elementary School and graduated from West Aurora High School in 1944.

She became a member of the Cadet Corps, preparing for nursing service in World War II, which allowed her to receive nurse's training that her family could not have afforded. The war concluded just prior to her completion of training, and she was not called to service. Instead, she served as an RN in the doctor's office of Ivor H. Morris, MD, who would later deliver her 5 children, and would remain her physician until his death. She took a memorable trip to California in the summer of 1948 with her parents, which included visiting her brother Roy Thomasson, who had moved to San Diego after his military service in the war.

In 1949, she married Gerald Conover, who had served in the Navy in World War II, and was completing his college degree under the GI Bill. They relocated to Champaign, where she worked at Mercy Hospital until his graduation in June, 1950. They then moved to Plano, where they lived in a very small house which served them through the birth of 4 children. Jerry worked with his father at Burrell Conover and Sons Heating and Sheet Metal in Aurora. In 1958 they built a home in Oak Hill, then a new subdivision outside of Oswego, and joined the Oswego Presbyterian Church. In 1961, their fifth child, Bill, was born. Mary Lou was active in scouting and the Galileans, an adult church group, as well as Eastern Star. Mary Lou and Jerry were divorced in 1970.

In the late 1960's, when her children were all in school, Mary Lou pursued her dream of obtaining a college degree and becoming a public health nurse. She earned her bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University in 1969, and worked several years for Kendall County Public Health Department.

All of the Conover children attended Oswego High School: Mike (1969), Pat (1970), Mary (1972), Tom, and Bill (1979). Tom's death in 1973 left the family in shock and grief for many years. In the late 1970's, Mary Lou built a duplex on Jackson Place, where she lived for the rest of her life. Around the same time, she began to work as a floor nurse at Copley Hospital in Aurora. She retired in 1987.

In retirement, she was busier than some with full-time jobs. She volunteered with Waubonsee College's Adult Literacy program one evening a week for almost 20 years, with Oswego Park District's Kid's Connection three mornings a week, and Meals on Wheels once a week. In 2004, she was honored as the volunteer of the month by the Adult Literacy program, and in April 2005 received a Kendall County Youth Service Award for her work with Kid's Connection.

She was able to live independently for many years in her duplex in the village of Oswego. From 2014, her daughter Mary became her neighbor in the duplex, and provided companionship and later care as needed. Mary Lou was a member of the Oswego Presbyterian Church, and almost never missed a meal at the Oswego Senior Center, where she enjoyed her regular table, but also the opportunity to keep up with so many.

She was predeceased by many, most recently her 100 year old brother Roy Thomasson last summer. She leaves 2 daughters and two sons, Michael B Conover of Chicago, Pat Mickiewicz (Russ) of Portland, Oregon, Mary Conover, of Oswego, and Bill (Carol) of Mason City, Illinois. She leaves 7 grandchildren: 4 in Portland —Roman Mickiewicz, Jacob Mickiewicz (DeeDee Lorentzen), Althea (Timur) Ender, and Caitlin Conover— 2 in Illinois— Emma and Clara Conover— and 1 in California— Evan Conover. She leaves 5 great grandchildren.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Hesed House, in Aurora, Illinois. An online memorial service is planned for Saturday, May 2 at 2pm at the Oswego Presbyterian Church,, and will be available for later viewing at their YouTube channel.

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