Mary Lou Rhodes, 94, died May 9, 2022, with family by her side in Farmington, NM. She was just days away from her 95th birthday, having been born May 14, 1927, in Oklahoma City, OK, to Mary and Orville (Hap) Ray.
Mary Lou was truly a child of God, intensely faithful to Jesus Christ, her family, and to PESCO. Everything she did was guided by these passions.
Mary Lou wed Edwin A. (Ed) Rhodes in September 1947 and thus began a loving and strong partnership of raising kids, growing churches, serving the community, and starting PESCO. They had five children in six years (Jana, Jere, Ray, Jim, Kyle) - oh those cold Wyoming winters!
Those early years were full of change as Dad, being in the oilfield industry, was transferred at least ten times between 1947 and 1958, when they landed in Farmington. Mom was thrust into managing the household as Dad was on the road most of the time. And manage she did, stretching a thin budget to feed five children and keep us clothed using her excellent sewing skills. Not being one to "wait until Dad gets home" she always took swift and decisive disciplinary action with us kids. When she didn't know which kid was the culprit and not having the time to find out, she would just line us up and give each of us a good swat. We kids developed a "we're all in this together" attitude and developed a secret communication system to alert each other when Mom was on the "warpath." We were a tight family, with Mom and Dad never missing one of the kid's swim meets, band concerts, choir concerts, baseball games, basketball games, twirling competitions, or Kelly Greens performances. Mom also got involved with the schools and organizations that her kids attended or participated in such as being in the PTA and organizing the Annual Halloween Carnival and working as a Room Mother, overseeing concessions for Little League baseball, and being a Cub Scout troop leader and Girl Scout troop leader. Mom was the cheerleader in everything we kids got involved in.
In every town they lived, Mom and Dad not only joined but supported and got involved in the local Methodist Church. A faithful relationship with Jesus Christ was the pillar of their lives and they modeled that by visible prayer, their treatment of people, and their support of the local Methodist Church. We rarely missed Sunday school and church. Mom and Dad were the Evangelism Committee, visiting people most Sunday afternoons. Mom taught Sunday school and was the founder of our church's Wednesday Night Supper.
Mom and Dad started PESCO in June 1970. It was just Mom and Dad, with all the kids joining in at times. Working long, hard hours, it was the Mary Lou and Ed team, doing everything they could to make ends meet. Dad would go to the field to do service work while mom did all the office work, answering phone calls, selling parts out of the warehouse for customers, unloading trucks. When we started manufacturing equipment, you would often see Dad driving the winch truck, with Mom as his "swamper," unloading pipe and loading equipment.
PESCO started hiring employees in the early 70's. Mom knew the employees, their spouses, and their children. She didn't see black, brown, white, old, young, man, woman - everyone was a child of God and deserved to be treated right. We would have PESCO Christmas parties and Mom would buy and wrap gifts for all the employees, their spouses, and their kids. Every day she would personally go pick up donuts or rolls for coffee break for the employees.
Mom retired in the late 80's after suffering the tragic loss of son Ray, his wife Terri, and their son Gregory in a Christmas day fire. She then successfully navigated breast cancer.
Mom was extremely proud of what PESCO has become in supporting families, the community, and the industry. She exemplified our values of Integrity, Mutual Respect and Trust, and Commitment to Excellence. It's comforting to know she's back with Dad and the "Mary Lou and Ed Team".
Mary Lou is preceded in death by her beloved husband Eddie; parents, Mary and Hap; son Ray; daughter in law Terri; grandson Gregory; siblings Wilda and Don.
Mary Lou is survived by her children Jana (Blake) Wallace; Jere (Charley) Tyler; Jim (Arna) Rhodes; Kyle (Gini Baxter) Rhodes; grandchildren Jaime (Phillip) Montoya; Kelley (Jacob) LaRue; Kylie Everhart (Jason Griffin); Ben Rhodes; Ryan (Misty) Mussett; Sara Rhodes; Jordan (Emily) Mussett; Marisha (Daniel) Mauch; Ali (Spencer) McGuire; 11 great grandchildren.
The family thanks the staff at The Bridge for 13 years of thoughtful care of Mary Lou, Dr. Sean Faherty, and the staff at San Juan Regional Medical Center.
Mom believed strongly in the welfare of children, youth, and young adults and gave generously to any organization that helped them. In honoring Mary Lou, donations can be made to First Tee Four Corners, Childhaven Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Farmington, San Juan College Foundation, or San Juan Medical Foundation.
A celebration of her life will be held at 5:00 PM on May 27, 2022, at Riverstone Church in Farmington.