Mary Louise “Mary Lou” McGrew, 92, of Cedar Rapids, IA, passed away peacefully, surrounded by loving care on Thursday, May 14, 2021, at St. Luke’s Hospice.


Mary Louise “Mary Lou” McGrew

Mary Lou was born Nov. 10,1928, in Chicago, the daughter of Paul and Angelia Jacobi. She graduated from high school in Chicago and attended college classes at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, where she met James Albert “Bert” McGrew. They married Dec. 4, 1948, in Chicago and moved to Cedar Rapids.

While in Cedar Rapids, she was a member of First Lutheran Church, was involved and volunteered in numerous community and civic projects, including the yearly “Beaux Arts Ball”. Mary Lou’s love, beyond her family and friends, was for decorating and entertaining. She had an incredible eye for colors and “spacing” of curtains, wall art, pictures, furniture and seating at dinner tables. This love of entertaining spilled into her life with many, many years of being the “Cruise Director” at any holiday or party celebration. She always had planned entertainment, collaborating with Bert for music, and brought such joy and never-ending laughter to all that attended these grand events. She even adorned some front-page spreads in many newspaper articles throughout her decorating years. In 1971, they moved to Lincoln, Neb., where she worked at the House of Bird Interiors. They moved to Palatine, Ill., in 1978, where she expanded her decorating career working in and ultimately owning the Nettle Creek Shop in Arlington Heights, Ill., with Bert as her CFO. In August 2012, they moved back to their Cedar Rapids, roots and lived in the Methwick Community.

She is survived by her daughters, Sara Ellison of Lisbon, and Claudia McCoy of Spokane, Wash.; her grandchildren, Emilia Ellison (Robert Weaver), Chelsea Ellison, Angela McCoy and Katie McCoy; two great-grandsons, Ethan and Chrystian. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 72 years, her parents, brother Jean Paul Jacobi and sister, Joanne “Joey” Humbert.

Memorials may be directed to the Methwick Community.

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