Mary Lou Eggan was born December 17, 1934 in Leadville, Colorado to Joseph and Staffie (DeMay) Ponikvar. Upon high school graduation, she joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia where she met and married Don Eggan of Helena. They made their home in Helena and were married for 50 years before his passing in 2007. Mary Lou left us on May 13 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Her strong Catholic faith helped guide her through life, and she was grateful for the support of St. Mary’s Catholic Community.
Mary Lou’s life revolved around her love of family. She spent many years being a homemaker, selling Avon and then transitioning to work for the publicity department at Shodair Children’s Hospital. After retiring, Mary Lou and Don loved traveling and Don always said if they left an inheritance, they hadn’t traveled enough.
Mary Lou was a genuinely kind person and an even better mom. Her most sage advice always included, “Let your conscience be your guide” which often put a damper on our fun. When we were growing up we thought she was too strict, but in hindsight we are grateful that we were never sent to the threatened reform school. She took great pride in her appearance, teaching us at an early age that “sometimes you must sacrifice comfort for looks” especially when shoes are involved. In her later years she often reminded us to “go with the flow.”
Mary Lou is survived by her daughters Yvonne (Dave) Casagrande of Billings and Karen Jacobson of Whitefish. She leaves behind her grandchildren Shannon (Mike) Marceau of Washington, Brenna Livingston of California, Kyle Jacobson of Kauai and Mike (Grace) Jacobson of Whitefish. Great grandchildren include Max and Gus Marceau; Maryn, McCall and Jaxon Livingston; and Milo and Jack Casagrande. She had a very close relationship with her niece Debbie (Dave) Olson of Helena. She is also survived by her sister Joanne Bjorklund of Phoenix, numerous nieces and nephews and special friend Joe Zimmerman.
Mary Lou will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Several people have said, “I wish your mom had been my mom”–a true testament to her loving nature. We will be forever grateful for her positivity.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Lewis & Clark Humane Society.