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Willa Lou McGarry

Willa Lou Eckert McGarry, daughter of Willard and Muriel Eckert, was born July 23, 1927 and died April 27, 2017.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. James the Less Catholic Church in Perris, California on May 4, 2017.

Lou will be buried with her daughter Rosemary at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Antioch, California, sometime next week.

In the small town of Oto Iowa (right outside of Sioux City) one half of the beginning of five generations, a rare ruby was born on July 23, 1927. With all of His divine wisdom, God had graced us with a wonderful sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great- great-grandmother.

The Heavens rejoiced on April 27, 2017 when Willa Lou joined our Heavenly Father.  Many on earth were stricken with a multitude of tears, for she had touched so many lives.

Lou (that was the name she preferred) grew up on a farm with five sisters. The neighbor farm had eight boys. So like in the movies, one of them — Jack McGarry — became the other half of the five generations.

After graduating from Oto High School, Lou attended Wayne State College in Nebraska, where she earned her Teaching Certificate.  Lou taught school for Grant Township #5.

Directly after her marriage, the couple moved to a farm outside Oto, Iowa.

On October 28, 1947 their first child — a baby girl, Rosemary Ann — was born. In the next nine years, Lou and Jack would welcome four more children: David Edward, Patricia Lucille, John Michael, and Kathleen Maria.

The last three births were at home on the farm, with the assistance of Virginia Behren, RN, a sister of Lou.  Doctor Cauley didn’t always make it on time, but Aunt Bonnie was always there. Another sister, Gwen Barcelou, helped out at one of the births when she was back in town.

As the story goes, Dr. Cauley would make an appearance sometimes after the baby was bathed, feed and put back to sleep. Anyone who remembers Dr. Cauley will know that he was a very busy and dedicated family doctor, but babies just don’t wait for anyone — at least not the ones born to Lou.

All five children were baptized at St. Mary’s in Oto. During these years, Lou’s two youngest sisters came to stay with this blooming family — GlennaLee and Christol. The fourth sister, Mona, completes the family of six Eckert girls.

Then in late 1956, the family moved to Sioux City. There Lou worked for Zenith Radio and Jack continued working for Nurtrina Mills at night.

Anyone around the mid-west during the late 50’s knew  the job market wasn’t at its optimum. So the young family followed the famous words and moved west to Page, Arizona.

The next move was to Antioch, California, where in December of 1959, Brian Patrick was welcomed into the family.

The next December brought with it a tragedy — the death of their firstborn, Rosemary Ann, to childhood leukemia at age 13. In April, the family moved again — this time to Yosemite National Park, for a year in one of the country’s most beautiful spots that nature has to offer.

The next April, the family moved to Southern California, Los Angeles County. Besides keeping everything running smoothly at home during these years, Lou also worked nights at many restaurants as the manager — and in 1964, she  also gave birth to her last child, Mary Theresa.

After years of perfecting her skills, Lou opened her own coffee shop in 1973. It seated 89 customers at a time.

The next and last move was to Riverside County, California, where they resided in their own home.  Lou and Jack attended St. James Catholic Church in Perris, California.

On August 28, 2016, Jack and Lou McGarry celebrated their platinum anniversary.

Seventy years of love that has brought forth four more generations. Besides 7 children, Lou also enjoyed the love of 19 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren, along with numerous nieces and nephews. Each and every one of them had a special place in her heart.

Her children were Rosemary Ann (deceased), David (Linda) McGarry, Patricia (Pete) Anderson, John Michael (Nancy) McGarry, Kathleen (Roger) Adamson, Brian McGarry, and Mary (Thomas) Kauffman.

Her sisters were Virginia Behren (Lynn), both deceased; Gwen Barcelou (Charles), both deceased; Mona Heath (John deceased); Glennalee Walsh (Jack deceased); and Christol Hedtke (Cal deceased).

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