Mary Smith Thaman was born in Toledo, OH, the daughter of Thomas C. and Mildred (Gerding) Smith, September 15, 1926. Until graduation from Decatur High School (now Belmont High School). She spent her childhood in Decatur, Indiana.
She attended Purdue University where she received a BS degree in Foods in Business in 1949 from the College of Health and Human Sciences. Her extra-curricular activities included broadcasting work at WBAA, University Choir and Purdue Agriculturist editor. She was a Gold Pepper, a women’s activity honorary; member of Alpha Epsilon Rho, national radio honorary and Zeta Tau Alpha social sorority.
After graduation, Mary was the Jasper County, Indiana, Extension agent where she worked for the next 2½ years. She married Luke Thaman, November 3, 1951, in Decatur, and they moved to Paulding, Ohio, where Luke managed the Paulding County Farm Bureau elevator. They came to Bryan when Luke and a partner bought the old Buckeye Elevator. They later built a new facility on Old 127. When Luke left the partnership, he became manager of WBNO where Mary also worked for 28 years.
She was an active member of St. Patrick Church in Bryan and a former altar rosary sodality president. She taught bread baking and microwave cooking classes for the Bryan Parks and Recreation Department in the 70s and 80s. Other community activities included being a room mother, girl scout leader, swim team association board; charter secretary, president and life member of the Bryan Hospital Auxiliary; one of the first three women elected to membership in the Bryan Area Foundation in 1970; charter member and president of ARTS; member and president of Taine Club; charter officer and trustee of the former YWCA; one of the founders and former board member of Williams County Habitat for Humanity; former president and board member of the Williams County Unit of the American Cancer Society; member and president of former Bryan Area Cultural Association; member and president of former Williams County Panhellenic association; member of Human Services Advisory Board; Junior Achievement Board and JA advisor. From the beginning, she was a monthly contributor to the Williams County Department of Aging newsletter; and also a Friend of the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce.
Always a proud Purdue graduate, during the 90s she served on the Purdue College of Consumer and Family Science Alumni Advisory Board for 7 years. In 2001, at the College of Consumer and Family Science 75th Anniversary, she was one of 75 “Hidden Diamonds” recognized for community service. In 2004, she received the CFS Community Service Award. In 2016, the Foods and Nutrition department, celebrating its 75th anniversary, named her one of its “Diamonds.” She was also a lifetime member of the Purdue Alumni Association.
In 1991, Mary and Luke Thaman were named the Bryan Area Foundation’s Good Citizens.
In addition, Mary’s activities included a long association with Chief Supermarkets that began in 1968 with Mary’s Memo. Her final Mary’s Memo was published in 2022. They also sponsored her program, Chiefly Foods, at the radio station. Starting in 1991, she did produce demonstrations at the Bryan Chief. It was during this time that she wrote a cookbook, “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It,” featuring the best recipes from Mary’s Memo.
Survivors are children, Mary Ann Thaman, Carmel IN; Thomas (Kelly) Thaman, Camby IN; Mary Beth O’Dell (James), Kettering OH; six grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, sister Ann Trentadue (Sam), Pittsburgh PA, sister-in-law Martha Smith, Fort Wayne, IN; and sister-in-law Sylvia Lemkuhl, Minster OH; and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her parents, husband Luke, son Christopher and brother Thomas Smith.
Visitation will be held on Monday, January 22, 2024 from 5:00-7:00 P.M. with recitation of the Rosary at 7:00 P.M. at Krill Funeral Home, 860 West Mulberry Street, Bryan. Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Bryan with Reverend Andrew Wellmann officiating. There will be an hour of visitation held at the church prior to Mass. Burial will follow at Shiffler Cemetery.
Memorials are to the Chris and Mary Thaman Scholarship Fund in the Bryan Area Foundation or the Luke Thaman Community Fund in the Bryan Area Foundation.