Mary Ellen Marihart
October 20, 1938 – April 30, 2022
Fresno, California – Mary Ellen Marihart, loving wife, mother, and grandmother, was born on October 20th, 1938, and passed away at home on Saturday, April 30th, 2022, surrounded by her family.
Born to Mary Rosalie Fullerton and William Granison Tharp on October 20, 1938, Mary Ellen was the oldest of 5 children. Always stylish and interested in fashion, after graduating from Marymount College, with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, Mary Ellen followed her dream of becoming a buyer for I. Magnin in San Francisco, where she was introduced to her future husband Leo A. Marihart, by their younger sisters.
After an elegant wedding in Hawaii, where her father was on assignment for the Department of Defense, Mary Ellen and Leo established their first home in a remote area of the Central Valley, El Nido, California, where Leo furthered his agricultural career with Newhall Land and Farming Company.
Mary Ellen became an excellent cook, known for crispy chicken, mocha cake, and a perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Mary Ellen’s love of fashion and sewing continued through these years as she honored her skills as an expert seamstress and tailor.
Always supportive of Leo and his business endeavors, the family moved to Lemoore, CA when Leo established Agri-Till Equipment Rental Company, later ATI Machinery, in Five Points, CA.
A woman of faith, Mary Ellen shared her many talents, time, and energy with the following organizations over the years: Santa Catalina School, St. Agnes Medical Center, Llanada Guild, Valley Children’s Hospital, Naomi’s House/Poverello House, Master Gardeners ( UC Agriculture and Natural Resources program), Mary Immaculate Queen School, Sacred Heart Hospital (Hanford, CA), and California Women for Agriculture.
Mary Ellen encouraged her children in all their activities, supporting her children as they traveled near and far – Leo to Asia and the EU; Thomas to Pennsylvania and California; and Cecilia to San Francisco, New York, and many parts abroad. She particularly enjoyed designing and making beautiful couture gowns for her daughter Cecilia, costumes for theater arts productions at Santa Catalina, and bespoke habits for Sister Claire.
Later in life, Mary Ellen’s greatest joy was nurturing and spending time with her cherished grandchildren Philip and William, learning with them about all the things that captured their interest: be it trains, bugs, music, or snap circuits. A curious and voracious reader, a hardcover book was never far from her hands. She read about history, politics, gardening, sewing, and cooking, and enjoyed a good Tom Clancy novel too.
Devoted to each other, Mary Ellen was pre-deceased by her husband of 52 years Leo in 2016.
She is survived by her children, Leo A. Marihart III, Thomas W. Marihart and his wife Chau; grandchildren Philip and William Marihart, Maria Cecilia Marihart; as well as her younger siblings, Michael, Kathleen, Sarah, Bill; and numerous extended family.
Visitation will be held on Monday, May 16, 2022, at Struve & Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis Street, Salinas, California, 93901 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with Rosary at 5:00p.m.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at San Carlos Cathedral, 500 Church Street, Monterey, California. 93940.
Burial will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 18200 Damian Way, Salinas, California 93907.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mary Ellen can be made to the Carmelite Monastery in Carmel, California, St. Ann’s Church in Riverdale, California, and St. Agnes Hospital in Fresno, California.
Funeral Arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home.
Online condolences to www.struveandlaporte.com
Published by Fresno Bee on May 8, 2022.