Rural 08


Mary Lou (Hartzler) Isernhagen

November 30, 1926 ~ December 10, 2018 (age 92)

Goodland resident, Mary Lou (Hartzler) Isernhagen died on Monday, December 10, at the age of 92. 

Mary Lou, the daughter of Ray and Hallie Hartzler, was born November 30, 1926. She grew up on the Sherman County Farm as her father was the manager.  She attended country schools for first and second grade and then transferred to Central and Grant Elementary Schools. As a senior at Sherman County Community High School, Mary Lou was recruited to teach in one of the numerous Sherman County country schools.  She graduated in 1943.

During World War II, Mary Lou took training in Kansas City with the National Weather Service and then worked briefly in Washington, DC, plotting weather information on maps for the analysts. She was called back to Goodland to help care for her ailing father and started dating her future husband, Ray Isernhagen, before he was drafted.   Mary Lou and Ray were married on October 16, 1945 while he was on leave before he shipped out for Germany. During Ray’s absence, Mary Lou taught in four different county country schools. 

Upon Ray’s return to Goodland, Mary Lou and Ray started their family with the births of three daughters, Bonnie, Susan, and Marsha.  Ray worked at Soil Conservation and farmed the land inherited from Mary Lou’s mother and Mary Lou worked in a variety of jobs including as an aide for first grade Team Teaching, a para professional at Goodland High School and ten years with the Migrant Summer School. In her earlier fifties, Mary Lou decided to return to college as a non-traditional student at Kansas State University earning a BS in Education in 1979.  After graduation, she taught special education for twelve years in USD #352 and retired in 1991 with a total of twenty-five years of working with children in Sherman County.  After her retirement, Mary Lou worked with Stephen Ministries and became a Parish Ministry Associate fulfilling her devotion to the Lutheran Church. 

Mary Lou and Ray loved to work with children.  They fostered 5 children and were devoted to Sky Ranch in Colorado frequently taking Goodland Lutheran children to camp there. In the summer Ray hired young men to work for the Soil Conservation program and they continued to touch base with Mary Lou after Ray’s passing.

As a third generation Sherman County resident, Mary Lou was extremely proud of her heritage and dedicated endless hours immersed in family history as well as Sherman County history.  In conjunction with Judy Vignery, a book was compiled with this history of the Goodland Municipal Airport.  The Sherman County Historical Society benefited from Mary Lou’s historical knowledge and she loved to “sit” at the Ennis-Handy House and sharing its history with visitors.

Mary Lou was an active member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, the American Association of University Women, and the VFW Auxiliary Post 1133. 

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Hallie Hartzler; her husband, Ray; her daughter, Bonnie Rush; and brothers, William (Bill) and Gordon Hartzler. Mary Lou is survived by her daughters, Susan Smith of St. Cloud, FL, and Marsha (David) Clark of Marion, KS.  Mary Lou leaves five grandchildren: Samantha Smith of St. Cloud, FL; Craig Parker of Westland, MI; Shane Clark of Olpe, KS; Eric Clark of Moundridge, KS; Jessica King of Indianola, IA.  Mary Lou was blessed with eleven great-grandchildren: Emily, Maggie, Garret, Ramsey, Noah, Olivia, Colby, Boston, Ava, Skyler, Max and one great-great grandchild, Hunter.  She counted Shane and Tyler McDonald and Seth and Kasey Stramel as her adopted children.

Donations may be made to:

Emmanuel Lutheran Church Scholarship Fund
and may be left at the services or mailed to Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N. Main Ave., Goodland KS 67735

Sherman County Historical Society
and may be left at the services or mailed to Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N. Main Ave., Goodland KS 67735

NWKS Animal Shelter
And may be left at the service or mailed to Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N. Main St., Goodland KS 67735

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