Thursday, January 25, 2024

Mary Elaine McMaster









Mary Elaine McMaster 1936-2023







A week before Christmas Eve, my partner and her six brothers and sisters lost their mother to the other side. Mary Carlson Sprute McMaster passed in the early morning hours of Sunday, December 17th.  It was a beautiful passing that I described here.

Mary or Mamo as she was called by those who loved her was quite a formidable force.  Having been a nurse for most of her working life, and a supervisory charge nurse for much of that, Mary knew how to manage her patients, and a lot of other things: her money, her personal affairs, her husbands, her kids, and their kids. As for "mother in laws", she was my favorite, and I've had a few.

Mamo was a huge sports fan.  Back when the Spurs were worth watching, she would text me and remind to watch the game.  One night, she had lost her internet connection, so I put an IPAD in front of our TV and she watched the game on facetime with us from 75 miles away.  She yelled and behaved as if she was in AT&T stadium in San Antonio.  She loved the Boise State Broncos and went to many of their games as she lived in Boise in summer and fall, and returned to San Antonio in winter and spring.

Mary traveled and made the most of her almost 88 years until the very end.  From Broadway plays to grandchildren playing in the Nutcracker, she was there.  She loved Esther's Follies here in Austin and we had a ticket for her for that Friday after that fateful Thanksgiving day when she finally fell quiet on that holiday morning.

When we made our trip to Idaho to see the totality eclipse there on the Payette River, she simply said "WOW" when the day went dark.  And she wowed and wowed until the dark once again became day.

Here is the obituary written by her first child Dana, (and my partner) along with input from her siblings:

Mary Elaine Carlson Sprute McMaster, 87, of San Antonio, Texas, completed her journey peacefully on December 17, 2023 surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Osburn, Idaho, June 8, 1936 to Russell and Laura Pearce Carlson. Mary was a beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, and aunt and was loved and respected for her kindness, wisdom, humor, enthusiasm and a sense of adventure she embraced in all aspects of her life. She was lovingly called Mamo by her children and grandchildren, a nickname she embraced with gusto and a vanity plate on her Mini Cooper.

Mary was a graduate of Wallace High School, Wallace, Idaho and St. Patrick's School of Nursing in Missoula, Montana. She dedicated her life to caring for others as a nurse, always bringing comfort and compassion to those in need.  Mary worked for many years as a general surgery head nurse at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho and mentored many young nursing graduates early in their career.  She was respected as a teacher and mentor who never asked anyone to do something she was not willing to do herself and had lifelong friendships form from these relationships.  Mary retired from the Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas in 1999 after serving many years as a nursing house supervisor.  

Mary's love of dancing brought joy to her throughout her life.   She met her first true love (and soon to be husband) while on holiday break from nursing school when a handsome redhead in a camel coat walked into the local establishment, brushed snow out of his hair and stepped into her life.    

Gerald “Jerry” Sprute and Mary married in 1957 and spent many years dazzling friends and family with their playful, skilled dancing style.  Their passion for dance was contagious and they inspired others to join them on the dance floor.  Dancing has always been an important part of her life which she shared with her first husband and their seven children.   Throughout her life, one beloved family activity included going out to dance together for any celebration or to just sing and dance at home in the kitchen, living room or wherever we were inspired.   Jerry passed away after a short illness in 2000.  

Mary met John Browning McMaster, Jr. while ballroom dancing in San Antonio, Texas; John was a kind and gentle man who she married in 1994.  Their mutual love of dancing was shared through many years together dancing for pleasure and included participating in many dance competitions throughout the U.S.   John preceded her in death in 2012. 

Mary was an avid sports fan and loved to cheer on her children in their endeavors in baseball, skiing, football, gymnastics and wrestling.   Favorite memories of Mom as a fan include her pounding the mat with her fist as she cheered on her son during a wrestling tournament or beating another child to the end-zone when he was running in a touchdown.  She loved cheering on the Boise State University Broncos and was also a devoted San Antonio Spurs fan.  Mary will be deeply missed by her family and friends and her memory will forever be cherished by all who had the privilege of knowing and loving her.

Mary is survived by her loving children Dana Sprute, Gerald Gregory Sprute, Stephen Thomas Sprute, Christopher Jon Sprute, Jeffrey Carlson Sprute, Michael George Sprute, and Andrea Sprute Dickerson, brother John “Jackie” Barton, sixteen grandchildren, a great grandson and a large extended family, including many adoring nieces and nephews.   She was preceded in death by her daughter, Stana Sprute, husband, John Browning McMaster, Jr., former husband, Gerald Joseph Sprute, parents, Russell Carlson and Laura Barton, her sisters Edna Thornton and Peggy McGee, and her brother Russell "Buddy" Carlson.

A Celebration of Life gathering is planned for family and friends for August 2024 in northern Idaho.  In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the National Emphysema Foundation or the American Lung Association; contributions made in her honor will make a meaningful impact for those living with lung disease.

May Mary Elaine McMaster's soul rest in eternal peace, and may her memory be a blessing to all who knew her.  

She is forever in our hearts.

Mary in deed passed that morning with courage and heart.

And she leaves a legacy of the same.

She will be missed.

But she will mostly be long remembered.

Safe Crossing Mary.



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