Mary L. Elder

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Mary L. (Dyson) Elder, age 74 of Sullivan, MO, passed away Thursday, May 23, 2019, surrounded by family.  

Mary was born on September 4, 1944 in Washington, MO, the daughter of Everett Dillon and Ella Caroline (Von Behren) Dyson. She was a graduate of Washington High School, class of 1962. She was united in marriage to Richard Shafferkoetter and settled into their first home in Washington, MO and became a stay at home mom with the birth of her first daughter, Linda. Several years later, they moved to Sullivan, MO, and soon after another daughter, Larrinda (Laurie), was born into the family. The family then moved to Arlington, TX for six years where Mary worked at LTV in cash management and accounts payable. In 1974, a job opportunity prompted a move back to Sullivan where Mary made her home until retirement. She worked in a variety of businesses including a fabric store, a family campground, a department store, Décor Plus, and owner of Bourbon Barrel and Richard’s Restaurant. Mary was united in marriage to Robert Elder in January 1996 in a Las Vegas ceremony. After Robert’s retirement, the couple made their home in Long Beach, MS, where Mary would have lived out her life near the beach and in the sunshine. Eventually, Alzheimer’s illness brought Mary home to Sullivan to be near her children for her care. 

Although Mary lived many miles from her hometown, she always kept in close touch with her family and loved hosting out of state visitors. She was the typical proud mom and grandma speaking often of her family to friends and neighbors. Mary was known for her kind and loving manner. She never met a stranger. She loved getting to know new people and made friends easily. One of her joys was just sitting with friends enjoying good conversation with a glass of wine or beer. She loved Mardi Gras, decorating her seasonal tree, cooking, and attending the Methodist Church. Mary was an avid bridge player. She was a member of a bridge club during her years in Sullivan and picked up with a group when she retired to Mississippi. She was a member of the Ladies Luncheon Group in Long Beach, MS, and a lifetime member of the Sullivan VFW Post 3987. She loved being a pet owner and her Yorkie, Presley, was named for her favorite singer, Elvis. Mary enjoyed working in her yard, spending hours outdoors. She was lovingly referred to as Mary Lee, Mom, Grams, and Mississippi Queen. 

Mary is survived by her husband, Robert Elder of Long Beach, MS; two daughters, Linda Richardson and husband, Rick, of Sullivan, MO, and Larrinda “Laurie” Witt and husband, Brian, of Sullivan, MO; two step-children, Robbie Elder and wife, Shannon, of St. Charles, MO, and Terri Bekebrede and husband, Tim, of St. Charles, MO; seven grandchildren, Ashley Dace and husband, Derek, of Sullivan, Carissa Richardson and fiancée, Destiny Beckett, of Fulton, MO, Phillip Mincemeyer and wife, Anna, of Gerald, MO, Rachel Mincemeyer of Scottsdale, AZ, Hannah Mincemeyer and Dalton Turner of Stanton, MO, Olivia Witt of Sullivan, MO, and Becky Cannon of FL; one granddaughter-in-law, Jenny Richardson of Sullivan, MO; 4 step-grandchildren, Erin Strein and husband, Adam, of St. Charles, MO, and Joe Bekebrede and wife, Katie, of St. Charles, MO, Blake Elder of St. Louis, MO, and Olivia Elder of O’Fallon, MO; seven great-grandchildren:  Grayson, Owen, Ava, Cole, Jacob, Jordan and Jackson; three step-great-grandchildren: Henry, Austin and Andrea; one brother, Kenny Dyson and wife, Maria, of St. Louis; one brother-in-law, Bill Froning of Arlington, TX; nieces and nephews, other relatives and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Everett and Ella Dyson; one brother, Jimmy Dyson and wife, Mona; three sisters, Shirley Froning, Betty Martin and husband, Mel, and Dorothy Owens and husband, Robert; one grandson, Rick Richardson, Jr.; and father and mother-in-law, John and Barbara Elder. 

Funeral services were conducted 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at the Eaton Funeral Home in Sullivan, with Mr. Duke West as the officiant. Interment followed in I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Sullivan.

Visitation was held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m,., Tuesday, at the Eaton Funeral Home. 

Memorial contributions may be made to:  the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Friends may send online condolences to Mary’s family at

All arrangements were under the care of the Eaton Funeral Home of Sullivan & Bourbon, MO. 

Sullivan Independent News

Sullivan Independent News
411 Scottsdale
Sullivan, MO 63080

Phone: 573-468-6511
Fax: 573-468-4046