Mary Ellen (Lappe) Greathouse

Mary Ellen (Lappe) Greathouse

Mary Ellen (Lappe) Greathouse


Mary Ellen (Lappe) Greathouse, 79, died surrounded by her loving family, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, IA. Saying that Mary was a beacon of kindness, compassion, and optimism would be an understatement for all who knew her.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. – Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, at St. John Catholic Church, Independence, IA, with Rev. David M. Beckman, celebrant. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29th, at White Funeral Home, Independence, IA, where there will be a parish rosary at 3:30 p.m. and a parish vigil service at 6:00 p.m. Visitation will continue for an hour, Monday, at the church.

Mary was born on March 14, 1944, in Independence, Iowa, the daughter of Arthur Clement Lappe and Mildred Marie (Murphy) Lappe. She attended school in Independence and graduated from St. John’s Catholic High School with the class of 1962. She went on to attend the Iowa State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls, IA, where she met Roger Greathouse. On July 7, 1969, she was united in marriage to Roger William Greathouse at St. John’s Catholic Church in Independence. They enjoyed 50 years of a loving marriage until his passing in 2019. The couple made their home in Independence for many years before moving to Iowa City to be closer to Roger’s job. While in Iowa City, Mary worked as a CNA at Mercy Hospital – Iowa City. In 2015, they moved back to Independence. As she neared retirement, Mary had the honor of teaching many of her grandchildren and a few neighborhood children during their preschool years in what the family affectionately calls “Grandma School.” At the age of 79, Mary earned her associate’s degree from Kirkwood Community College and earned a spot on the dean’s list, graduating this past August. Together, Mary and Roger built a life centered on family, faith, and community. Mary volunteered in many different capacities and groups over the years. She was a member of Independence Master Gardeners Club, and she was a lifelong member of St. John’s Catholic Church in Independence.

Mary is survived by her four children, Joe (Kristin) of Tiffin, IA, Stephanie (Dewayne) of Walker, IA, and Susan (Jim) of Cresco, IA; 11 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter, three brothers, Leroy (Roselyn) Lappe of Independence, IA, Jim Lappe of Wellsburg, IA, John Lappe of Brandon, IA; three sisters, Rosalind Gibbs of Independence, IA, Katherine (Larry) Brenneman of Riverside, IA, and Rita (Brian) Ridler of Woodward, IA; three sisters-in-law, Margorie Lappe of Independence, IA, Mary Lappe of Colona, IL, Christine Lappe of Waterloo, IA; and many nieces and nephews.

Mary is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Roger; her stillborn son, Patrick; and three brothers, Paul Lappe, William Lappe, and Richard Lappe.

Memorials will be directed to the church and a scholarship that has been established for Education Majors at Kirkwood Community College in memory of Mary Ellen.

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