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A Tribute to Mary Weaver by her Children

The seventh annual Greene County Impact Award was awarded to Mary Weaver, of Rippey, Iowa, on May 2, 2016. Other media in the area covered the ceremony, but her children, David and Theresa, shared this tribute to their mother.

 A tribute to Mary Weaver by her children, David and Theresa, written after Mary received the Greene County Impact Award. 



David, Emily and Ada Weaver; Gary and Mary Weaver; Matt, Theresa, Nathan and Lauren Bayse

The seventh annual Impact Award ceremony was held on Sunday May 2, 2016 at the Greene County Courthouse.  Friends of Rippey board members and supporters were on hand to see the award presented to Mary Weaver in honor of her community efforts over the years. 

The event was emceed by Jerry Roberts, who began by referring to previous award winners as an “all-star lineup”.  Lawrence Giesler gave the first presentation with a card from the Award Committee which encouraged Mary to “smile and take a bow”.  Mr. Roberts thanked all involved with the award and the ceremony, and recognized the award as being a celebration of volunteerism and the arts in Greene County. 

Sharon Ulrich, representing Friends of Rippey, spoke first on Mary’s behalf.  She recognized the work that Mary and her good friend Velda DeMoss began in Rippey, starting with planters of flowers, which grew to include the Community Center, Rippey School Monument and many other efforts.  Ulrich stated that Mary “works to preserve and keep the community alive.  Not alone but in true leadership fashion, working with others to reach the organization’s goals.” 

Mr. Roberts then read from personal letters submitted by former Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) group members, laughingly referring to the “infamous” period when it was led by Mary and Gary Weaver.  Ken Countryman, Linda Borgeson-Hampton, Dave Hick and Mark Monthei shared memories and stories from their adventures with Mary and Gary in MYF, with special mentions of the trips that were taken and the time that Mary always had available to talk with members of the group.

Brenda Roberts beautifully performed “How You Live” with lyrics that emphasized the everyday choices we make to live a rich life. 

Mr. Roberts read letters from Mary’s neighbors, sharing details about her thoughtfulness and how she was available when needed, bringing cookies or helping out during a family illness.  

Jane Millard from the Jefferson Public Library next shared her thoughts on how Mary came to her with the idea to start “Greene County Reads” and her persistent efforts to develop the county wide program, including grant-writing and working directly with publishers to have books read on the radio. 

Roger Aegerter of the Greene County Historical Society spoke about Mary’s tenacity on behalf of local history, particularly the programs she developed including cemetery tours and her portrayals of Mary Truman Davis.  He emphasized that “history comes alive with great volunteers” like Mary. 

Mr. Roberts then turned to Supervisor John Muir, who had willingly volunteered to speak on behalf of the Board of Supervisors to present the award to Mary.  Muir mentioned that when an item was on the Supervisors’ Agenda with Mary’s name behind it they knew it would happen and get done right. 

Mr. Roberts then opened the event to comments from the audience, with several speaking about other, more personal efforts that Mary had made on their behalf or for family members through the years.  Helen Marshall, of rural Paton, recalled many years ago when she teased her friend and neighbor, Gary Weaver, and asked him why he was smiling; he shared the news that he had asked Mary Lee Dorris to marry him.  Ned Johnston of Rippey shared his experiences of working with Mary on a number of projects in Rippey including many "beautification" projects as well as making sure that there was a concession stand open when the Rippey gym hosted basketball games, or Walt Anderson field hosted a baseball game.  Liz Garst noted that they were caretakers for a good friend of theirs who is elderly and failing in health and how Mary goes above and beyond to make sure her needs are taken care of.  And Lori DeMoss, Velda DeMoss' daughter in law, shared a touching tribute about how Mary helped her get started in her career, as well as the time spent with Velda as she struggled against cancer.

Finally Mary was given the opportunity to share her thanks with the award committee, friends and family present.  She shared that she was grateful and humbled and that all of the projects mentioned as part of the ceremony were always group efforts, that she was one of many volunteers.  Mary pointed out Denny Lautner and reminisced about their battle to "save the Rippey Post Office!  It was certainly a battle, but we still have a Post Office in Rippey!"    She introduced her husband, children and their spouses and grandchildren.  She recognized her cousin (almost like a sibling) Mike Scharingson, as well as others present.  She expressed her thanks for the award and said that because of the many community members involved in all of the efforts mentioned, the award could have gone to any one of the guests in the audience. 

The event concluded with cookies and punch.