Mary E. (Strecker) Anderson was born on Dec 31, 1936, at the family farm south of Paradise, Kansas, to Ernest and Eva (Weller) Strecker. She passed on March 26th, 2021. Mary was the oldest of four children: her sister Kay and brothers Al and Glen. She graduated from Paradise Rural High School in 1954 and married Jay Anderson. They later divorced. Mary raised her family in Oberlin, Kansas, working as a bookkeeper, taking community college classes when possible, and staying busy with community groups, including Eastern Star and 4-H.
Mary was a multi-talented woman. She originally majored in Art and Home Economics when she first went to college, all while raising children and working. She created beautiful art, had tremendous skills as a seamstress, and loved to cook gourmet meals. In the ‘70’s, Mary became a broker for EF Hutton. Although women had only been able to legally have credit cards in their own name a few years earlier, she began a women’s investment club to teach women about stocks and how to invest. She served on the school board for USD 294 in Oberlin for twelve years, with four of those years as President.
When her children were grown, Mary went back to school. She graduated from Fort Hays State University in 1985 with a degree in Accounting, and passed the Certified Public Accountant Exam on her first attempt. She purchased an accounting and tax practice in Osborne, Kansas, and grew the small, one-CPA firm to several locations and 17 employees. She was the second woman in Kansas to have her own freestanding CPA firm. Her knowledge of finance, investment, business and personal affairs was widely sought. Banks would often send Mary clients that were in financial trouble, as they knew she would teach them how to manage their finances. Mary went above and beyond for her clients and loved helping them.
Mary was active in the Osborne community and surrounding areas for many years. She was in Osborne Rotary and served as President, volunteered for the annual Paradise Hunters Feed, and was involved in other community activities. She served as Treasurer of the Smoky Hills Public Television Board for over 30 years, and was highly respected among the board members. In 2018, Mary sold the bulk of her CPA firm and moved back to Hays to run the small office she had there. She enjoyed working with the Hays Arts Council and loved attending diverse artistic and performance events as well.
Mary also took time to enjoy life. She was an excellent bridge player and loved teaching her skills to others. She travelled widely, including backpacking through Europe at 52-years old; visiting her daughter in New Zealand; traveling across Eastern Canada by train; and then in her most recent trip, completing the journey by train across the western half. She was a committed fan of K-State athletics, especially football, even before the school’s later successes.
Mary was much beloved by her grandchildren. She shared her love of art and the world with them, reading them Kipling as young children and cooking them her famous paella, a dish she had learned from a Spanish exchange student she once hosted. She showed them that a love of family, community, and honest work are all part of a life well-lived.
Mary was highly respected across northwest Kansas for her knowledge and professionalism. She was thoughtful, kind, and very, very well-loved. Mary will be remembered for her generous heart, helpful nature, and determination.
Mary is survived by three daughters who adore her: Jill Reichert and her husband Wilbur of Oberlin; Amy Anderson and Mark Webster of Oklahoma City; and Jane Anderson. She also leaves behind her much loved grandsons: Grant Reichert of Wenatchee, Washington; Gannon and Mary Reichert, of Oberlin; and Gage and Cole Reichert of Oberlin. She is also survived by four great-grandsons: Conner, Creo, Dean and Owen Reichert. Mary will be greeted by her grandson Gatlin Reichert, her parents, and her brother Al Strecker, beyond this world.
Mary will be thoroughly celebrated in Paradise, Kansas, later this summer.
Mary wished memorials be made to Paradise United Methodist Church or Osborne UMC. Donations made payable to the organization my be sent in care of Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel & Crematory, 2509 Vine Street, Hays, Kansas 67601.
Condolences can be left by guestbook at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com or e-mailed to email@example.com
To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral store.