Mary Lee Steimel Garrison

Honored by:Suzanne Garrison
Brick location:C:4  map

Mary Lee Steimel Garrison was raised on a farm near Hudson, Iowa, the only daughter of William and Esther Steimel. She attended Iowa State University between 1951 and 1956 and she received a business degree with a minor in industrial psychology. She married Carl Garrison ('55) in 1959 and raised three daughters: Anne Marie ('82), Cathy and Suzanne ('90).

Her husband, children and grandchildren feel that Mary Lee deserves a place in the Plaza of Heroines simply for being who she is: a loving wife caring mother and understanding grandmother. Over the years, her family has learned that there is no secret so terrible that it cannot be told, no trouble large enough that it cannot be solved and no triumph small enough that it cannot be shared. She has shown overwhelming devotion to her faith, her family and her friends. The mark she has made in her lifetime in the lives of others will not soon be forgotten or taken for granted.

This brick has been donated as a way of saying thank you to a woman who has given freely of herself her time and her talents. --Carl E. Garrison, Bill & Anne Christenson, Megan Christenson, Robert Christenson, Jay & Cathy Foster, Andrew Foster, Johnna Foster, and Suzanne Garrison.


Mary Lee (née Steimel) Garrison (‘56) passed away on Thursday, June 11, 2020 at the age of 86, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mrs. Garrison was born on May 22, 1934 to William J. and Esther (née Mathern) Steimel of Eagle Center, Iowa. She graduated from Hudson High School, Hudson Iowa and went on to graduate from Iowa State University in 1956 with a BS in Industrial Administration. Following graduation, Mrs. Garrison moved to Chicago, and worked at AT&T. She married Carl Garrison (‘55) of Chicago in 1959. They resided in Evanston, Illinois and Nashville Tennessee before they settled in Champaign, Illinois. Mrs. Garrison also worked for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety and Mt. Hope/Roselawn Cemetery. In 2012 Mrs. Garrison married John Kurt (‘56) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and spent her remaining years in St. Louis, Missouri.

She was a member of Delta Zeta sorority Beta Kappa Chapter, Ames, Iowa and the New Neighbors League in Nashville, Tennessee. In Champaign she was a volunteer for Mercy Hospital Auxiliary, St. Matthew Catholic Church Parish Council, the Council of Catholic Women, St. Matthew’s Parents Club, the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers Auxiliary, and St. Matthew’s Bereavement Group.

Mrs. Garrison was preceded in death by her parents William J. and Esther, brothers William P. and Gerald, sisters Mary Isabel and Carolyn, her first husband, Carl, and a granddaughter, Grace Siobhan and niece Julie (née Steimel) Barth. Mrs. Garrison is survived by John Kurt, her three daughters Anne Marie (‘82) (William ‘81, ‘84) Christenson, Catherine (Jay) Foster, and Suzanne Garrison(‘90), two step-daughters, Dana (David) Moraniec, Gretta (Joe Wilp) Bukovitch, numerous grandchildren, including Megan, Robert and Kaitlyn Christenson, Andrew (Allie) Foster, Johnna (Joseph) Heasley, Alex and Jessica Moraniec, Aron and Hannah Tolin, and Pallas and Julia Johnson, two great-grandchildren, Evelyn and Joseph E. Heasley, her Sister-in-Law Norma (née Cavanaugh) Steimel, and nieces MaryEllen (Mark) Yusko, Paula and Kathleen Steimel.

A memorial service was held on June 18, in St. Louis Missouri, and a second memorial service will be held at a later date in Champaign, Illinois. Memorial donations may be made to the following organizations: St. Matthew’s Endowment Fund for Education or the Dailey Bread Soup Kitchen in Champaign, Illinois, the Monsignor James A. Supple Endowment Fund in Ames, Iowa, or De Greeff Hospice House in St. Louis, Missouri.