Mary Ann Prothe Green screamed into the world of post WWII on Sept 2, 1947 at Paola, KS to her parents Fred Prothe and Hazel Holtz Prothe. She came to join her older brother Gary and sister Vera at their parent’s rural home at Fontana KS.
Life was much simpler then but equally as tough as most families in rural America experienced it. She easily blended in with the Baxter and Cawby families, as with many others, bringing her laughter to school yards and parties developing lifelong friendships and a coping mechanism that she would call upon in later, darker times.
Over five years later her younger brother Johnny (John) was born to become her young protégé.
At about 5 years of age polio struck Mary Ann which began weeks of brutal leg exercises and years of pain, but the laughter endured throughout. She graduated Fontana High School and entered the glitzy life as a modern woman working in the iconic Western Auto building in Kansas City. Later, as a key punch operator at TWA, she took a step up and used work perks to fly to NYC with friends to go shopping for the afternoon.
She was a beautiful woman with bright, dark eyes and hair, living the new singles life in Paola when I met her before becoming her sister-in-law. She had mastered the Wilton method of cake decorating, a skill that gleamed while creating the double cakes for our wedding, as well as anniversary and birthday cakes for many years to come.
Mary Ann married Richard Arthur Green on Dec 27, 1976, and they settled in Gladstone MO. But the farm life tugged at her heart strings enough that they later purchased a place near Cleveland MO where she spent most of her life clearing brush, raising chickens and cows, planting a garden and rearing two children. Their son, William (Bill), was born followed by Katherine (Katie) and became her focus in all she did. A newly built home, well-tended flower beds and the removal of the old wooden barn were her projects as she frugally shopped auctions and yard sales for things to make do.
One Thanksgiving she hosted a family dinner that had every aspect just perfect. The house was in ship shape with doilies on antique furniture, the meal was flavorful chicken and noodles with two types of home-made biscuits—hard and thin, and fluffy to please the men in her life. And generous rounds of laughter were served at every point of the event. I often wondered how many people in attendance realized the beauty of that day. The practice of making the most of what you have, not wasting a teaspoon of sugar and a chair for every person. Mary Ann had learned this reverence for family after all of the years of hearing about her parents struggles as children of the Great Depression and during a war that had taken too many daddies. You missed out if you weren’t at a seat at the table that day or any day Mary Ann was host.
From some corner of the universe she was gifted a unique use of words. Toilet paper was “tarlett” paper. Upon seeing a huge new Toyota truck she tersely claimed, “that’s a bitin’ sow.” Of course these things would elicit laughter, her oldest friend, into the room.
Her lessons to her children were to not be wasteful, “waste not, want not “ she would say, and to tend your pennies, respect your elders and clean up your messes. How many lives could have been improved if Mary Ann had taught a home management class with a side course in decency to neighbor and country.
It was a painful pivot when the time came to leave their well-tended farm at Cleveland to move to their home in Independence, MO. But the laughter moved with them crowded in among the memories they carried.
Mary Ann passed at home on January 15. She leaves behind her husband Richard of the home, daughter Katie Taylor (Michael) of Independence, MO and their son Bill Green of Overland Park, KS, 3 grandsons, Miles, August, and Arlo along with siblings; Gary Prothe, (Carol) Urbana, MO, Vera Drotleff, Vacaville, CA and John Prothe (Milly) Emporia KS along with countless nieces and nephews who remember her old soul.
No service is planned at this time.