A Family Funeral Home

Mary Lou Dettmer

August 27, 1937 - December 4, 2020
Racine, WI



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community
PO Box 081515
Racine, WI 53408

Wustum Museum
2519 Northwestern Avenue
Racine, WI 53404

Life Story / Obituary


Mary Lou Dettmer, age 83, passed peacefully away at St. Monica’s Senior Living Center on Friday, December 4, 2020. Mary Lou was born in Emporia, Kansas on August 27, 1937 to Carl William and Velma Alice (nee. Farrar) Dettmer.

Survivors include Sharon Burdick, her partner of 43 years; sister-in-law Peggy Dettmer of New Mexico; nieces, Sandy DeRoche of Louisiana and Becky (Paul) Sanderlin of Florida; nephew, Steve (Doris) Dettmer of New Mexico and the Burdicks, who were her adopted family. Along with family Mary Lou will be missed by dear friends, Sue Manalli, Peggy Robbins, Tom Martin, Jane Key, members of Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community and many other friends.

Mary Lou’s greatest passion in life, besides her many friends, was art in its many forms. She graduated from Kansas State Teachers College with a B.S. in Art Education. At Shawnee Mission Public Schools in Kansas Mary Lou taught Junior High Students for a few years. Her love of art inspired her to expand her education at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California where she obtained a B.F.A. Degree. Mary Lou’s creativity grew throughout her career. She was able to share her work through numerous medias as an illustrator for Hallmark Card, Western Publishing and Freelance work.

After retirement her sense of whimsey was displayed through her fanciful Summertime creations of the Cats, Bear, Fish, Lighthouse, Sphere, Adirondack Chairs and Clock for the fundraising Art Events for Downtown Racine. Her Painted Lady Dolls are a treasure to those who own them. Mary Lou also was a talented jeweler. Recently, in 2019, her illustration of Cookie Monster and Ernie from “The Sesame Street Story Book” was included in the Sesame Street’s 50-year anniversary edition “Love the Fur You’re In”. Mary Lou loved Mickey Mouse. Her collection of everything “Mickey” was extensive. In her own words her goals were: “I want to work creatively with a variety of media to produce visually happy things.”

She was preceded in death by her parents Carl and Velma, and her brother Bill. Also, good friends Liz Chapman, Frannie Glass, Linda Winchester, Don Dalton to name a few.

In keeping with Mary Lou’s wishes cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.

If you wish, donations can be made to Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community, PO Box 081515 Racine, WI 53408 or Wustum Museum, 2519 Northwestern Avenue, Racine, WI 53404 in Mary Lou’s name.