Eulogy of Mary K. Meyer

By Brad Grabs 

There is so much that could be said in a eulogy of Mary K. Meyer.  There is little, however, that could be said that wouldn’t cause Mary K. to wince at all the attention focused on her life and her accomplishments.  

Knowing Mary K., she probably wouldn’t want me to go on about her ministry at the Manna House in Concordia, providing Sanctuary to desperate Central American refugees, giving everything she had for those who had nothing. 

She probably wouldn’t want me to say much about her many trips to El Salvador, serving as an international accompanier and human shield, risking her life to stand in solidarity with war-ravaged people. 

She probably wouldn’t want me to make a big deal of her two trips to Iraq in recent years, bringing a desperately needed offering of peace to our brothers and sisters in that country, even as our own country was hungry for war. 

She might not want me to go into too much detail about her being booted from the Muehlebach Hotel for confronting General Norman Schwarzkopf on his role in the deaths of innocent Iraqis during the Persian Gulf War. 

Mary K. might blush a bit if I told you how dearly she loved and respected her family, and how deeply they loved and respected her. 

She might try to downplay her lead role in building the Senior Center and elderly housing units in her beloved hometown of Chapman, KS. 

Mary K. wouldn’t consider it very noteworthy to mention all of the countless cards and letters that she wrote to hundreds of people, giving them encouragement, hope, and her very sincere love. 

She might be a tad embarrassed if I told you about how she recently cornered one of our 200 lb, 6 foot tall guests at Shalom House and made him take off his t-shirt immediately and throw it in the trash.  It was a couple of weeks later before I had the heart to tell her that the advertisement on his shirt was actually for a bottle of Mexican hot sauce, not a bottle of liquor.  She laughed, and apologized to him.  He never said a word. 

And she probably wouldn’t think it even worth mentioning how carefully and lovingly she washed and folded the clothes of every Shalom House guest for 18 years. 

Yes, Mary K. was a humble woman, avoiding the spotlight except when it served the purpose of standing up for the poor, the weak, and the oppressed. 

But there is one thing that I can say about Mary K. that I know she would wholeheartedly approve of.  She would flash her big smile, her eyes would sparkle, and she’d give a two thumbs up if I told you what I admired most about Mary K.  And that is this …

Mary K. Meyer loved God.  And she trusted God.   The depth of her love for her Creator was beyond any I have ever witnessed.  Her devotion to prayer, her insistence on discernment of God’s will, even her faithfulness to promoting peace and serving others, were simply passionate expressions of a deep and abiding love for God. 

Perhaps the greatest evidence of Mary K.’s trust in God was her ability to wade through hopelessness and despair and destruction during the day, turn it over to God with great supplication that night, and fall asleep easily, with peace in her heart, always, always eager for another day. 

Mary K. was a strong-willed person, never backing down from her strong convictions…but she never hesitated to submit to the will of God.

Mary K. was a fearless person, confronting drug dealers in our neighborhood and death squads in El Salvador.  But there is One whom she deeply feared and revered. 

Mary K. was a very independent woman, unmoved by the judgments of others and constantly challenging the values of our culture…but she never forgot her utter dependence on God. 

And Mary K. was, in many ways, a private woman…but was intensely intimate with her Creator. 

I’d like to add one more thing to this tribute to Mary K. if I may.  Perhaps it seems impossible for any of us to fully embody the remarkable traits of Mary K.   But I’d like to suggest that each one of us, the hundreds of family, friends, and admirers of Mary K. who are gathered here today, could reflect upon the one thing that each of us admired most about her…the one thing about her that inspired us the most…the one thing about Mary K. that each of us desperately wants to live on. 

And after we identify that one thing, may each of us work to integrate that one special thing into our own lives.  And if we can embody even that one thing, as we go forth from this church today, the heart, the mind, the hands, the feet, the smile, the passion, the dedication, the faith, the spirit of Mary K. Meyer will go forth as well, in a very tangible way, continuing to bring light, and peace, and joy to a world deeply in need. 

And it may be easier than we think.  Because the spirit of Mary K., now fully joined to our loving God, and I dare say even more emboldened by God, will be there to accompany us each step of the way. 





  1. John Bach said

    Integrate into my life – “don’t just talk about injustice do something about it!” that’s what Mary K left me and that’s what I feel her spirit calling me to do.

    Praise our Creator for the presents of her “Soul” in our lives.

  2. Marilyn J. Trechter said

    the one thing about Mary Kay was her writing cards and letters. that is what I choose to continue to do. They mean so much.
    Marilyn J. Trechter

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