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Mary Anne Renfro Beagles

January 13, 1927 - November 9, 2010

Mary Anne Renfro Beagles, 83, of Springfield, passed away Tuesday, November 9, 2010, at St. John’s Hospital, Springfield. She died peacefully, surrounded by her family.

Visitation will be on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Staab Funeral Home, 1109 S. Fifth Street, Springfield, with prayers at four o’clock with the Reverend Peter Harman. The funeral Mass will be 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 13, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Springfield.

Mrs. Beagles was born on January 13, 1927, at Springfield, a daughter of Walter M. and Mary C. Barry Renfro. She married Howard L. Beagles at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Church in Springfield on Feb. 2, 1948. He survives.

Also surviving are four sons, Barry (April) Beagles of Auburn, Gerry (Cindy) Beagles of Palos Heights, David Beagles of Springfield, and Thomas (Holly) Beagles of Northbrook; and two daughters, Anne Raymond of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Rita (Allen) Drake of El Paso. Also surviving are a brother-in-law, John R. Beagles of Lexington, 15 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, one great-grandson due in February, and several cousins. Grandchildren (organized by families of Mrs. Beagles’ children) are: Andy Beagles; Joseph, Michael (Jaimie), Gina, and Jeffrey Raymond; Matt (Nicoleta), John (Christina), Carl (Kristen), Jim (Maureen), and Sarah Drake; Stephen (Joanne) and Danny (Karen) Beagles; and Allie, Sam and Nora Beagles.

Great-grandchildren are: Andrew, Connor, Audrey, Laura, Ben, Lucas, Abby, Bridget, Ella, Penelope, Patrick Finnegan and Charles Brody

Her parents, an infant brother, Joseph Renfro, and an infant sister, Elizabeth Renfro, preceded her in death.

She attended the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Grade School where she played bass viol in the orchestra. She then graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, Springfield.

Before her marriage, Mrs. Beagles worked at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, in sterilizing at St. John’s Hospital, and as a clerk for the telephone company. She was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society of the Cathedral parish, Springfield, where she also worked the ice cream social for many years and helped with countless bazaars and parish dinners. A Catholic whose faith and love of the Holy Trinity and the saints was a huge part of her life, giving it focus, strength and hope, Mary Anne faithfully attended daily Mass and multiple novena services. Her many works of mercy included delivering Meals on Wheels and volunteering for twenty-five years helping residents attend Mass at a local nursing home. She loved music and served in choirs at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception since childhood. In her latter years she enjoyed singing with her friends in The Resurrection Choir. As a staunch supporter of the Right to Life, she worked many times at that organization’s Illinois State Fair booth.

She was a gentle, involved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was the best friend and encourager anyone could have. Taking care of other people was her great talent; she was known for nurturing others with feasts at her home and for never visiting anywhere without taking a lot of food with her. A common refrain in her family was because she never stopped working unless it was to play a game of pinochle.

She loved her Irish heritage and the memories of growing up on the same block as Lincoln’s home. (Her house was at the site of the current Ninian Edward’s home reproduction — 406 South Eighth Street.) She had unique memories of growing up on that historic block and was always happy to share those memories and all of her vast knowledge, including an extensive recall of poetry and songs, with others. She also wrote poetry.

To know her was to love her for her sweetness and sense of humor, but also for her sense of values. She lived her life with one foot in eternity, and now her loved ones trust she has gone rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Her family wishes to thank Dr. James LaFata and his staff for years of care as Mary Anne battled congestive heart failure and diabetes. Her quality of life was very good, partly due to the wonderful care she received from Dr. LaFata. Her quality of death was enhanced greatly by the staff and volunteers in the ER and ICU of St. John’s Medical Center and the chaplains there.

Donations may be made in Mary Anne’s name to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Grade School.

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