SPRINGFIELD – Mary Jeane (Gallagher) Vasterling, 73, of Springfield passed away at the home of Matt and Amy Jennings on July 10, 2009, with her family at her bedside.
She was born November 18, 1935, in Lawrence, Kansas, the daughter of Francis and Elizabeth (Boyer) Gallagher.
Mary received her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from St. Louis University in 1957. She was a physical therapist for 40 years until she retired from Springfield Clinic in 1997.
As soon as Mary was wed, she was ready to start a family. She and her husband Don became foster parents to at least 100 children, some with disabilities in St. Louis. Later, they adopted their sons, Michael and Joseph. After moving to Springfield in 1965, they continued foster care through Catholic Charities. Later they adopted their newborn daughters, Mary and Amy. Mary Jeane had a special devotion for St. Joseph, patron of foster parents.
Mary was a devout Catholic, member of Blessed Sacrament Parish, and a regular at Eucharistic Adoration. She was an avid bridge player with the St. Theresa Ladies Evening Group for nearly 40 years, and at the Springfield Bridge Center. While raising her children, she volunteered with Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, SUSA Swim Team Booster Club, and Meals on Wheels. She enjoyed sewing, knitting and crocheting. Mary was a lover of Irish music and proud of her Irish heritage having visited Ireland twice. She also was an enthusiast of English cozy mysteries. Mary will always be recognized as a hands-on grandma, babysitting, carpooling, and attending her grandchildren’s events.
Mary is survived by her daughters, Amy (husband, Matt) Jennings of Springfield, Mary (husband, Seth) Perlman of Springfield; and her sons, Joseph and Michael; six grandchildren, Lucy, Albert and Eleanor Perlman of Springfield, George and Jack Jennings of Springfield, and Jonathan Vasterling of Grapevine, Texas; one brother, Dr. Stephen Gallagher (wife, Lynda) and a number of nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 13, 2009, at Staab Funeral Home, with prayers at 5 p.m.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, 2009, at Blessed Sacrament Church, with Reverend David Hoefler officiating. Burial will be at Camp Butler National Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Catholic Charities or Blessed Sacrament School.
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