Mary Lucille Woodard
Mary Lucille Woodard (Martin, Bontrager), 89, went to be with her Lord and Savior on October 22,2020. She passed on,
peacefully, in her residence, with her loving family by her side.
Born February 16, 1931, in Elkhart, Indiana on the family homestead, Mary was the first of 3 children born to George
Edward and Bernice Elmira Martin (Weldy). Growing up in Elkhart, north of Wakarusa, Mary graduated from Wakarusa
High School in 1949. Over the years Mary and her classmates referred to themselves as “the Forty-Niners.
In 1954 she married Maynard Eugene Bontrager. They had 3 children: Marva (Ritchey) Kendall, Marlene (Daniel) Lovell and
Marlin Bontrager. They also had 4 grandchildren: Carmen (Micheal) Hughes, Kara (Mark) Walker, Kathryn Lovell and Chloe
Lovell; and 2 great grandchildren: Henry Hughes and Nora Walker; her sibling include: sister, Ruth Yoder, Goshen,
Indiana, and her brother, Earl Martin, Woodburn, Indiana.
During High School and after graduation Mary was employed at the Whitmak Photo Studio in Elkhart. She later went to
work at the Exchange State Bank in Wakarusa. After becoming a Qualified Med Aid, Mary first worked at the Goshen
Hospital and then later at the LaGrange Hospital.
Mary and Maynard settled in LaGrange, Indiana where they attended Plato Mennonite Church. Together they started the
Shining Light Quartet, often performing in churches in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. They also produced and published
one record album.
After Maynard’s death in 1967 Mary remained active at Plato Mennonite Church. She taught Vacation Bible Schools, and
occasionally lead singing with children in special Sunday evening programs. Mary was part of a woman’s quartet at Plato
A music lover, Mary taught herself to play the piano and often had gospel music playing on her stereo. She also enjoyed
canning and preserving , occasionally entering dill, sweet, and bread and butter pickle varieties in the culinary division at
the local fall festival, taking home blue ribbons. Mary was a good seamstress, making many of her children’s clothes and
also taught her daughters how to sew. A good artist, she created a variety of pencil and colored chalk drawings. In later
life Mary attempted painting and was successful in that area as well. Mary very much enjoyed photography and bird
watching. She loved birds, nature, flowers and gardening, often photographing birds, sunrise/sunsets, clouds, rainbows
and flowers that she had grown. Not only did Mary have a true “green thumb” with house plants, her artistic flair allowed
her to create beautiful arrangements and centerpieces from flowers that she had grown and dried. Being a farmer’s
daughter , it was once said that Mary was not happy unless she was “ digging in the dirt” !
Having a Down Syndrome son, Mary became very active in the LARC in LaGrange County, serving as the Treasurer from
1965-1972. Along with working part time at the LaGrange Hospital and her many hobbies, Mary stayed quite busy.
In 1975 she married R Bruce Woodard, moving to Elkhart in 1978. There she worked at Elkhart Hospital as a part time
Ward Clerk and went on to work full time at the Fountainview Place Nursing Home. Later still she worked at the Medco
Center. never idle, Mary returned to school in 1981 to update her certificate as a Qualified Medication Aide.
In Elkhart Mary and Bruce attended the First Baptist Church on Prairie Street. There, Mary once again became involved
with music, singing in various church choirs and special programs. Mary also volunteered as a Greeter at church on
In 1984 Mary went to work as a Lab Tech for Dr. Larry Roberts at Waterfall Orthodontics in Elkhart. She continued working
there until her retirement in 1995, and returned periodically thereafter to help out when needed.
Bruce passed away in 1992, and upon her retirement in 1995 , Mary returned to the LaGrange area , settling in Howe, to
live next door to her daughter Marlene. Upon her return to the area, Mary immediately transferred her church membership
to the LaGrange Baptist Church where she became immersed in women’s ministries. She taught Primary S.S. for 3, 4, and
5 year olds, as well as Vacation Bible Schools and served in the nursery department as well. At one time she also served
as the church pianist. May remained faithful in her church attendance until Covid 2020 arrived, after which she had to
worship at home. Soon after this, Mary’s health began to fail, but her faith never wavered.
Here is a direct quote from Mary, an excerpt taken from a testimony she had once delivered:
“ Through both of my husbands’ deaths and through all of the years between,
only because of what the Lord did for me,
through faith and trusting Him , I live one day at a time.
God allows many things to happen in our lives to draw us closer to Him and to help us grow.
I used to think that when I got to Heaven, I’ll ask God ”why this ?“, or “why that ? “ happened.
But you know what ?……….
The older I get , I’m caring less about the why’s .
When I get to Heaven I just want to see my Savior , and my loved ones, and spend eternity there. “
Mary was preceded in death by both of her husbands, her son, and her parents. A private family graveside service was
held at Shore Cemetery. Memorial contributions in memory of Mary may be given to The ARC of LaGrange County or
In Loving Memory of
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.
II Timothy 4:7-8
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