A celebration of Mary Casner’s life will be held on Thursday, March 21st at 2:30 pm in the Chapel of Lawton Ritter Gray Funeral Home in Lawton. Come armed with a story. The family would love to hear it.
Mary Louise Casner passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 23, 2019, beneath bright blue skies, with family by her side and her favorite, Elvis, playing in the background. True to form, she defied expectations and passed when she decided the time was right.
Mary was born on September 9, 1929 to Villa and Cas Christian in Cache, Oklahoma and for a time lived with her grandparents, Jim and Maude Caywood, in Cache, where she also attended school. She adored her grandfather, and her two brothers, Don and Ron Pittman; and her special cousin, Joe Porter.
Growing up during the Great Depression, Mary learned the value of hard work. She enjoyed telling stories about picking cotton as a girl, how she fibbed about her age to get a job at Ft. Sill and her time working at the legendary Cache hot-spot, Dairy X.
In 1946, a dashing Army sergeant from New Jersey, Jim Casner, rode into town on a Harley. Mary, a raving beauty, caught his eye and he hers. They had great fun roller skating at Crater Lake, and Mary even rode on the back of the Harley until Jim laid it down one day with Mary on the back. She didn’t ride with him again after that.
After marrying on April 1, 1946, Mary and Jim made their home in Cache, and welcomed two daughters, Judy and Shirley, who took after their mother in strength and determination. Mary and Jim were well-known in town. She worked at a corner gas station and Jim drove a school bus. They eventually operated Cache Wrecker Service and mechanic shop at their home on the corner of 8th street across from the Trading Post. Their 1920s river-rock house was a happening place and many a night Oklahoma State Troopers sat at the dining room table sipping coffee, telling stories or eating a meal prepared by Mary. Her specialty was spaghetti and meatballs. She also made a mean coconut cake. Jim passed in 1979 and many of those Troopers attended his service supporting Mary and serving as pallbearers.
During the 70s and 80s, Mary drove a cool brown station wagon and her house was bustling with grandchildren. By now she worked as a seamstress at Haggar Slacks. After her retirement from Haggar, she took a position at Cache Middle School as a custodian, where she immensely enjoyed the students and made lasting friendships, until she was well into her 70s. Fiercely independent, she also continued to mow her lawn in her 70's until her doctor put his foot down.
Mary loved the town of Cache and her rock home on the corner. Her choice would’ve been to never leave it, but her health necessitated a move to Oklahoma City where she could be looked after. As to be expected, she was very independent at her nursing facility and kept her things at the ready, in case the time came to go back to Cache. She also kept a standing appointment at the beauty shop.
She was kind (but fierce when it was required), never in need of a calculator to figure numbers, incredibly strong, not afraid of hard work, a good story teller, quick with a laugh, and always had her hair done and her burgundy lipstick on. Those are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking of her. She was a good and proud woman who loved her family, loved her hometown and always did her best. She will be missed.
She was preceded in death by her husband; brother, Ron Pittman; daughters, Judy Casner Palmer and Shirley Casner Smith.
She is survived by her brother, Don Pitman and his wife Anna of Arlington, TX; grandchildren, Carrie Palmer, of Overland Park, KS, Dennis Palmer II, of Cache, OK, Wesley Palmer, of Cache, OK, and Jennifer Russell Kragh, of Oklahoma City; and a bevy of great grandchildren.
The family would like to thank her special friend, Donna Dodd, for her friendship and help to Mary in her later years. Another thank you to the staff at Tuscany Village Nursing Center in Oklahoma City for their kindness and care.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cache Public Schools.