Mary Alyce Harpster, 76, of Fort Myers, Fla., formerly of Huron, died Aug. 28, 2013, from complications of diabetes at Hope Hospice, Bonita Springs, Fla.
The daughter of Hilda (Whitehouse) and John Hamilton, she was born Oct. 2, 1936, and grew up near Pittsburgh. Her father was in the U.S. Marine Corps and her mother was a teacher, a career Mary Alyce also chose and for which she prepared at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1958.
At Pitt, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and the sweetheart of Phi Gamma Delta. But it was a Sigma Chi, Joseph Harpster, whom she married in 1959. The couple moved to Ohio, where they lived with their daughter, Dayna Jo, now of Fort Myers, and the mother of her granddaughters Madeline Thomas, and Annabelle Thomas. Also important in her life was Dayna’s spouse, Gerald L. Stawski Jr. of Fort Myers.
For several decades, Mary Alyce taught English at Huron High School, a profession she was passionate about and for which she was highly regarded. She also directed the award-winning HHS Tigerette Drill Team for many years. She earned a master’s degree in education from Kent State University, commuting from Huron in a red Volkswagen Beetle. She was a student at the time, but not on campus the day of the National Guard shootings. Sometime later, she pursued graduate study at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and worked as an associate pastor in the United Methodist Church.
Not long after her retirement from Huron High School, she moved to New Orleans, to be near her daughter’s family. In 2005 she had been contemplating a move to Florida, to which her daughter’s family had relocated, when Hurricane Katrina made the decision for her. She fled with her dog, a pug mix named Dobby.
In Florida, she enjoyed travel, playing bridge, crossword puzzles, reading, writing, and shopping for bargains.
Burial will be in the Harpster family plot in Meadow Green Memorial Park, Huron.
Memorial contributions in her name may be sent to the Huron High School English Department Scholarship, Attn: HHS Alumni Association, 710 W. Cleveland Rd., Huron, OH 44839.
Friends may sign the guest book at horizonfunerals.com.