Mary Lou Harbaugh, age 73, of Guttenberg, IA, passed away Thursday, March 17, 2022 after a brave journey with cancer. She was born in Postville, IA, on July 3, 1948, the daughter of Raymond and Dorothy (Havelick) Hinzman the 8th of 10 children. Mary Lou attended country school through 2nd grade, Garnavillo School, then later graduated from Guttenberg High School. On April 16, 1966, Mary Lou was united in marriage with George H. Harbaugh at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Garnavillo. George and Mary Lou farmed near Osterdock for over 20 years.
Mary Lou and George raised 6 children and Mary Lou was an integral part of everything that happened in the home and on the farm. After selling the farm, she and George owned and operated Osterdock Junction and Mary Lou’s Restaurant. They also teamed up to drive semi for a period of time. Later she worked as a cook at the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital where she shared her talents in the kitchen and made many lifelong friends.
Those who loved Mary Lou called her wife, Mom, Nana, sister, aunt and friend. They would describe her as the hardest working, most resilient, loving, caring and gentle soul. Her smile could light up a room and truly made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. She was a caregiver and a protector, always worrying for and caring for others. She was a listening ear, never passing judgement or offering her opinion. Mary Lou’s kitchen was always a gathering place filled with delicious food and lots of love. The kitchen was her favorite place. There was always something sweet and freshly baked waiting for company. She swore she loved the batch of cookies that were burnt (the dunkers) and enjoyed them with a fresh cup of hot coffee. No one ever missed a meal, left her house hungry, or skipped a dessert.
She was proud of her childhood, her large family, and the struggles that made her stronger – walking uphill both ways to the bus, sharing her clothes with her siblings, and the ONE soda they got each year for their birthday. Even through some of the toughest times, like losing her first son at the age of 7, she could find the silver lining.
She loved the Iowa Hawkeyes, any team her children or grandchildren played or coached, gardening, spending time outdoors camping or enjoying the sunshine, traveling, playing cards (Garny vs. Guttenberg), and shopping at WalMart. She had a special place in her heart for her puppy Minnie and any stray kitty could find a home in her garage. More than anything she loved her husband, children and grandchildren. She was filled with pride for them, always sharing stories about them with others, and looking forward to their next visit. Her job was seldom done, but she rested each day when she knew everyone was tucked in for the night. It was her 5 surviving children’s greatest honor to care for her and carry her to her final home the final weeks of her life.
Mary Lou (Nana) will be greatly missed by her husband of 55 years, George Harbaugh; 5 children; JoLynn (Aaron) Moore, Tim (Peg) Harbaugh, Chad (Kari) Harbaugh, Missy (Jerel) Holohan & Darren (Angie) Harbaugh; 19 grandchildren; siblings, Pat (Terry) Meyer, Shirley Leliefeld, Bob (Donna) Hinzman, Rick (Deb) Hinzman and many other relatives and friends.
Mary Lou was preceded in death by her son Randy; 1 sister Rose Duwe, 4 brothers, Ralph, Roger, Ronald & Raymond Hinzman and parents, Raymond & Dorothy Hinzman
The family would like to thank the physicians and nurses at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Guttenberg Hospital, Cornerstone Family Medical Center, St Croix Hospice and River Living Center for the care they provided during her journey.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St John’s Lutheran Church in Guttenberg or Guttenberg Municipal Hospital in her memory.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Lou Harbaugh, please visit our floral store.