Mary Lou Sallee, 87
Funeral services for Mary Lou Sallee, 87, of Ava, are scheduled for 2 p.m. today, April 11, 2018, in the Ava United Methodist Church in Ava with Pastor Oren Alcorn and Pastor Jessica Foster officiating. Visitation was Tuesday evening in the Ava High School gymnasium. Mrs. Sallee died April 6 at her home with her family by her side.
She was born May 10, 1930, in Seymour, the daughter of Louis B. and Bessie L. Curley Meir. She lost her mother at age 4, and her father remarried a wonderful woman, Sylvia Gatewood Meir, who became her second mother.
She graduated from Central High School in Springfield and then attended Southwest Missouri State University, where she obtained a double major in English/speech and physical education. She received her master’s degree from Drury College.
She taught physical education at SMSU, and then, on Sept. 28, 1956, in Springfield, she married Donald Eugene Sallee. In the fall of 1956, she began her 30-plus-year career at Ava High School, teaching and coaching. She taught physical education, health and English. She started the girls high school track team and the Ava swim team. She also served as the Douglas County water safety instructor and spent her summers teaching swimming, lifesaving and water-safety skills. She was instrumental in the conception, approval and funding of the Ava Public Pool. She also taught first aid and CPR through the American Red Cross.
After retiring from teaching, Mrs. Sallee began her second career, serving her community for eight years as State Representative of the 144th District, which included the eastern part of Ozark County. Her key legislation included lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration level from .1 to .08. Some major accomplishments specific to her community included having Highway 5 in Ava named for the foxtrotter horse, having the foxtrotter named as the state horse and assisting in obtaining the necessary funding for the Industrial Park Road. Her committee service included: Elementary and Secondary Education; Higher Education; Children, Youth, and Families; Health and Mental Health; School Violence and Safe Children; and Agriculture.
Mrs. Sallee dedicated her life to helping young people and serving her community. She was a member of the Ava United Methodist Church, Missouri State Teachers Association, Douglas County Republican Women, PEO, Friends of the Library and University of Missouri Parentlink. Prior to being elected state representative, she served as Republican committee woman and treasurer of the Douglas County Central Committee.
She is survived by her two children, Dr. Donald “Skip” Sallee of St. Louis and Anne Sallee Mason and husband Dr. Scott Mason of Springfield; three grandchildren, Evan Mason, Eliza and Donald Liam Sallee; her sister Becky Frazier and husband Larry of Overland Park, Kansas; her sister-in-law, Wanda Carras of Springfield; four nieces; cousins and many, many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her second mother, Sylvia Meir; her 4-year-old brother, Jimmy Meir; and her husband, Don, who died in September 2017.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Don and Mary Lou Sallee Scholarship Fund c/o Town & Country Bank, P.O. Box 807, Ava, MO 65608.
Services are being conducted by Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava.