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Obituary: Mary Elizabeth Cerise Anderson

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On April 20, 2019, Mary Anderson departed this world too soon — she was 70 years young.

Mary was born July 2, 1948, the daughter of Howard and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Kroul in Iowa City, Iowa. Raised on the family farm, she had a love of the outdoors and a “roll up your sleeves” work ethic. Mary graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1966, and later attended Hamilton Business College in Des Moines. Soon after graduation she told her dad she couldn’t work indoors, and her father the farmer understood, and helped her head west. 

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Mary made her way west to the open spaces and big mountains of Colorado. While bartending at the Black Nugget Saloon in Carbondale, Mary met Douglas Cerise. The two soon married, they lived and ranched on the Cerise Ranch on Missouri Heights outside of Carbondale for eight years. Douglas and Mary had two children, Cassie and Lowell. Mary and Douglas divorced in 1980.

Mary opened a lady’s dress shop called the “Silk Stocking” in Rifle and had a good business and made many friends along the journey. In 1989, Mary met Terry Anderson and married him in the following year. They spent time enjoying the outdoors including elk hunting, fishing, boating, and exploring the beautiful Flat Tops of Western Colorado. They owned a condo in Mesquite, Nevada and spent winters there enjoying the sunshine and the desert landscape. Mary had a good time throwing a coin in the slot machines, she was always ready to hit the “big one”! Mary and Terry divorced after nearly three decades of marriage.

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Mary was an active member of the Rifle Elks Lodge. She was a charter member of the Mesquite, Nevada Elks Lodge and instrumental in its inception. Mary could “rig” about anything to make it work, painted with the best of them, loved a good party, and was often hard to keep up with.

Mary’s adventurous spirit was contagious. She was always ready for another big painting project, search for treasures in the most unlikely of places, or get out and explore new country. Her bright smile and warm spirit helped her make friends wherever she went. She loved spending time with her five grandchildren, she loved watching them play baseball games, taking them golfing, picking rocks in the desert, helping at brandings, and fishing with them.

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The last few years of Mary’s life were brightened through the special relationship she shared with friend and running-around partner, Chuck Bergonzini. The two made several trips to Idaho and travelled through Nevada, Mexico, and Colorado together.

Mary is survived by her mother, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Kroul of Mt. Vernon, IA, her children, Cassie (Tim) Fenton of Carbondale, Colorado and their boys Cole and Chase, and Lowell (Mary Elizabeth) Cerise of Salmon, Idaho and their daughters Lillian, Avery and Quincy; two sisters, Jo Clark (Keith) of Mt. Vernon, IA and Rebecca Donovan of Solon, IA and two brothers, John Kroul (Kaylene) of Mt. Vernon, IA and Tom Kroul (Emmie) of Solon, IA, her uncle whom she cared deeply for – David Wolfe of Los Angeles, CA, and friend and running partner, Chuck Bergonzini. She was preceded in death by her father, Howard Kroul.

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If there are some lessons we could take from the book of Mary Elizabeth Cerise Anderson, it would be these – live life as if every day could be your last. Choose your adventure, talk to strangers (all of them), make new friends everywhere you go, and always be looking for treasure, you never know where it might show up.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rifle Elks Lodge Charitable Program in Mary’s name, and while you’re there raise a glass and toast in her honor.

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There will be a Celebration of Life in Mary’s honor at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at the Rifle Elks Lodge. Those that were touched by Mary’s genuine kindness and fun-loving spirit are encouraged to join us in celebrating her life.