Heaven is welcoming a thoughtful and caring mother and beloved grandmother whose dedication to her family knew no bounds.
Mary Ann Zehr passed away on Nov. 6., 2019 in her home in Little Rock. She was 74.
Mary was a devoted wife to her husband, David, of 48 years. They were married in Paxton, Massachusetts. Over the years, they spent countless hours walking beaches and searching for shells and sea glass. They also rarely missed an exit with an antique mall where they sought out pieces for their ever-growing eclectic collections of clock keys, tea infusers, cut glass perfume bottles, clocks, candlestick telephones, and even thimbles. When her children were small, they put bounties on these items to keep the complaining to a minimum.
An avid gardener, she spent hours in her yard, making sure that something would be blooming through the different seasons. She was an active member of the Pulaski County Master Gardeners, with whom she volunteered taking care of the gardens at the Little Rock Arts Center.
In civic life, Mary was an active member of the League of Women Voters, working with groups throughout the city to promote conservation and protect the natural beauty that makes Arkansas such a special place to live.
Mary was adored by her grandchildren. Whether it was playing with dolls, Legos, fairy gardens, action figures or turtles, she was always willing to jump in as a big kid. All the grandchildren knew that Pinterest-worthy crafts would be ready to commence when they arrived. They also enjoyed cooking rosemary bread while eating ridiculous amounts of Oreo cookies and M&Ms.
A huge fan of birthdays and special occasions, Mary never missed an opportunity to send a card or gift to let family and friends know how important they were to her. Sometimes she would collect these gifts months or years in advance only to struggle to find them later. And, in a family tradition, these gifts would arrive in boxes rendered nearly impregnable by massive amounts of tape.
An artist at heart, Mary had a flare for poignant and funny poetry and a talent for creating stained glass. She spent days and weeks making special designs for those closest to her.
Mary also led a very meaningful life in the work world. After completing her undergraduate degree and nursing registration from the University of Rochester in New York, she went on to earn a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her career in healthcare, Mary worked with the Visiting Nurses Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, EDS and Systemedics.
Mary was born January 17, 1945 in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Edmund James Cook and Helen Grobe Cook Green. She was born during a major snowstorm so a family friend nicknamed her “Snowflake.” She adored that nickname, and her grandchildren affectionately referred to her as Grandma Snowflake.
She is survived by her husband, David Zehr; her sister, Ellie Bushweller; her brother, Donald Cook; her children, Amy Riedl and Michael Zehr; and her grandchildren, Ethan, Nicholas, Drew, Annalise, Victoria and Caroline.
Funeral services will be held at 10 AM on Monday, November 11th, at Christ the King Church at 8700 N. Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be made in her name to: the Arkansas Master Gardener Program at 2301 South University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204 or online at: www.uaex.edu; or the Carmelite Nuns at 7201 West 32nd Street, Little Rock, AR 72204; or Garvan Woodland Gardens at 550 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71913 or online at: https://www.garvangardens.org/. Online guestbook at www.SmithFamilyCares.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Ann (Cook) Zehr, please visit our floral store.
Arkansas Master Gardner Program
2301 South University Ave, Little Rock AR 72204
7201 West 32nd Street, Little Rock AR 72204
Garvan Woodland Gardens
550 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs AR 71913