Marie Lichtenauer was called home on December 8. Marie was born Maria Magdalena Geier on November 26, 1924. Born to German-Austrian parents Joseph and Aloisia Geier, she was the middle child of seven. Marie grew up in a two-bedroom home on Kansas City’s west side, near Sacred Heart parish. She tells the story of how it was not customary for German families to attend church with the Irish families of Sacred Heart so she, along with her brothers and sisters, trekked across what is now Southwest Trafficway, through Penn Valley Park, and up the hill to Our Lady of Sorrows to attend school and church. At a very young age, and armed with a seventh-grade education, Marie entered the workforce. She eventually began working for Sears & Roebuck.
She liked to tell a story about how, during the war, she and her sister Elizabeth used to write their name and address on a piece of paper, attach it to a rock, and then toss it over to the bridge above Union Station to the servicemen boarding trains below. They would then correspond with these soldiers. It is unclear if this is how she met her future husband, but in 1946 she married German-born George Lichtenauer.
They settled in what was then south Kansas City and raised six children. As her children grew older, Marie returned to work. She took a position at the Montgomery Ward department store in the brand spanking new Ward Parkway Mall, where she would work until her early 70s. She enjoyed her time there and the people she worked with. In fact, it meant so much to her that, years later, when the store was demolished to build a Target, she went there and fished a brick out of the rubble as a personal souvenir of her days at Wards.
She kept very busy in retirement, volunteering at the Meals on Wheels and food pantry operated out of her church, Christ the King. She liked growing flowers and maintaining her home. She mowed her own grass and shoveled her driveway into her late 80s, when she had to be convinced to let someone else do it. Marie was not one much for asking for or accepting help – even when she really needed it. She was fiercely independent. It was her goal in life to live long and not to spend her last days in a skilled nursing facility. Happily, she achieved this goal. Way to go Mom. Now you can take a break.
Marie is preceded in death by sisters Elizabeth and Louise, brothers Joseph, Rudy, Albert, and Frankie, husband George, daughter Judith, son George Michael, sons-in-law James Davis and Henry Gomez, and grandson Paul Lichtenauer. She is survived by son Thomas (Barb), daughters Jean Davis, Patricia Gomez, and Mary Kay Hogan (Jim), son-in-law James Rogers, daughter-in-law Peggy Lichtenauer, as well as grandchildren Brian, Allison, Jeff, Scott, Ginny, Matt, Anna, Tom, Erin and seven great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Christ the King Catholic Church Food Pantry.