I’m sorry to announce belatedly that Mary Kopsieker has passed on. We normally got in contact when there was a Laura event. I was a little surprised she didn’t contact me or show up for Bill Anderson’s talk at Hoover this last Labor Day or respond to my e-mail about it, but I was busy around then so I didn’t think too much about it. I just sent postcard Christmas cards in 2015 because we were busy with our Disney trip so I also didn’t really think it was that important that I didn’t get a Christmas card back which I normally did and postcards aren’t returned if the address is wrong. So I was kind of shocked when I got my Christmas card returned this year and when I searched for her online I found her obituary and discovered that she had passed away August 4, 2015.
Continued Laura Connection
Mary had been an early visitor to the homesites, going with a friend, and had lots of stories to tell of those early days. One great story was that she had gone to DeSmet for one of the anniversaries and told about taking a tour of the town riding via a hay ride (square bales on a hay wagon). After that friend passed on she didn’t really feel comfortable traveling all that way by car alone so she didn’t go for some time.
She did come with me to the original De Smet event in 2005 and went on the 2007 tour Burr Oak organized to Malone. You might have met her there. She co-presented with me at the Laura themed Hawkeye Doll Club workshop in 2008. My post about that continues to be one of most visited blog posts. She’s also the one that visited the What Cheer Opera House with me when we were planning the doll club workshop. She attended pretty much every Laura event within a reasonable drive and still presented on Laura at her local school and libraries.
She was an avid flutist and continued to travel to the national flute convention each year (by plane which she felt much more comfortable traveling on her own). Since she was still traveling extensively and very active it was quite a shock to find that she had suddenly passed away.
This is also a reminder for all Laura collectors that you need to make arrangements for your collection officially in your will or go ahead and pass it along as you get older. Her Laura collection didn’t go where she had always said she was going to leave it and my guess is – since her family didn’t care anything about Laura – that it got pitched or was included in her estate auction which probably also lead to most of it being pitched. So don’t let all the work you put in gathering your Laura collection go to waste. Tell your family where you want it to go with contact information and spell it out in your will – I have.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.