March 25, 1929—January 8, 2018
Mary Louise Reece Harper, age 88, of Elko, NV passed away Monday, January 8, 2018. Mary was born March 25, 1929 in Des Moines, IA to Lela Austin Reece and Mary Fern Oldaker Reece. Mary and her sister Virginia Lee “Ginger” Hain were raised on the Reece Farm near Milan, MO. Her and her sister went to schools in the area of their farm and Mary attended Kirksville Teachers College and became a certified teacher. She was told of two available jobs she could take. One in Death Valley, NV and one in Elko, NV. She had heard of Death Valley and the hot weather, but had not heard of Elko, NV so she accepted a position at Elko, NV.
She moved to Elko Nevada where she met and married Charles Emmett Harper in 1950. They were married in Elko at the Presbyterian Church when it was located on Idaho Street. She is survived by her husband Charles E. Harper (of Elko, NV), her sister Ginger Hain (Bellvue, NE) and all of her children, Reece Charles Harper (Buford, GA), Douglas Lee Harper (Reno, NV), Loyd Austin Harper (Elko, NV) and Marilyn Harper (Reno, NV). Mary was the Grandmother of Charles Ryan Harper (son of Loyd Austin Harper) and Alexander Heydon Harper (son of Douglas Lee Harper). She has one Great-Grandson, Charles Andrew Harper (Son of Grandson Charles Ryan Harper).
Mary was very involved in many types of art work. She collected old bottles, made many broken glass mosaics, sewed clothes for all of her children and herself, painted with oil paints as well as water color, and did all kinds of art that she learned in her life. Much of her art work is shown in a special display at the Northeastern Nevada Museum. Mary and Charles Harper were very dedicated to establishment and construction of the Museum in Elko from the days before there was a building. She was a devoted card game player and became the Cub Scout Pack Den Mother for her boys as they grew up in Elko. Mary was a member of the DAR and P.E.O Sisterhood as well as several other historic organizations. She researched the Reece Family genealogy so she could show her heritage and become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution along with her mother (Mary Fern Reece).
Mary was left handed and she organized annual celebrations of Left Handers Day. She and her daughter, Marilyn, were true left handers and made Chuck Harper an “Honorary Left Hander” so he could help organize, set up and attend the parties she sponsored at their home each year.
Mary was a devoted wife and mother for her entire life. She loved to cook and bake food, as long as she had a recipe to follow. She collected many cook books and recipes. She was a very good friend to many, many people in Elko.
She expressed that she did not want to have a funeral service, but her remains will be buried at the Harper plot at the Elko Masonic Cemetery.