Cover photo for Mary Lou Tapp's Obituary
Mary Lou Tapp Profile Photo
1937 Mary lou 2011

Mary Lou Tapp

April 24, 1937 — August 29, 2011

Mary Louise Tapp, 74, of Lewellen, passed away of cancer late Monday night, August 29, 2011, at the Ogallala Community Hospital in Ogallala with her daughter, Terri, by her side.

Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, September 2, 2011, at the United Methodist Church in Lewellen with Pastor Ray Weinerman officiating. Burial will follow at the Ash Hollow Cemetery near Lewellen.

Friends may call Thursday, September 1st from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Holechek Funeral Home in Oshkosh.

A memorial has been established to the family.

Family and friends may sign the guest book and leave condolences online at

Holechek Funeral Home & Cremations in Oshkosh is serving the Tapp family.

Mary came into the world in Omaha, Nebraska on April 24, 1937. She had a rough start in life because she was taken away from her birth parents for abuse. She was then placed in an orphanage until October 6, 1941 when Ralph and Sadie Hettrich of Julesburg, Colorado adopted her and raised her on a farm with a sister, Jean Hettrich. She drove a Model T by the time she was in the3rd grade. She remained on the farm until she graduated from Julesburg High School in 1955. After high school, she attended college a few years and took her generals.

She then moved to Sterling, Colorado for a while. While working as a waitress in Sterling she met Jack Lee Tapp. They had a short courtship they knew each other 24 hours of meeting before marrying on May 27, 1960. They were married 11 years when they adopted their daughter, Terri. She was their life and she really loved her mom and dad.

When Terri began school they bought a home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. When Terri was in the 4th grade they moved to Sapulpa which was a mile from winter quarters where the repairs were done on the carnival rides. When Terri was in the 9th grade, they moved to Scottsbluff, Nebraska and bought a business in Terrytown, Nebraska a store, cafe, bar, gas station. They remained here until Terri graduated from High School. They sold everything and went back to work on the carnival.

The Tapps owned several rides; Astroliner, moon walk, vending machines, Gravitron, A Jolly Choo Choo, kid’s roller coaster, and a commissary; they cooked for up to 200 employees seven days a week. Mary Lou said homemade food was made 3 times a day.

Jack and Mary Lou helped raise two foster children. Jim, age 18, was taken to them by his father who then abandoned him in 1963. They contacted Social Services and were able to keep Jim in their home. Jim was killed in an accident in 1995. Their second foster child is Jennifer who lives in Enid, Oklahoma. Mary Lou's step daughter Vicki Smith lives in Gering, Nebraska. She has five kids. Mary Lou said they went on vacation for a month in 1976 to California, New Mexico and Utah and took Jack's mother, Dorothy Tapp, and daughter, Terri to Disneyland, Safari, Sea World, and Knottsberry Farm. This was the only time they had a chance for a vacation. Mary Lou said it was a lot of fun and there was no work involved.

Mary often spoke about her high school days and all her friends. She always attended her class reunions. Terri took her to her reunion on July 15th, 2011 she enjoyed visiting with her friends.

She was a devoted mother and wife. She will forever be loved and missed by all who knew her.

Through the years she has been a
secretary, medical transcriptionist, waitress, babysitter and business owner of a carnival rides, commissary, gas station c -store, bar, restaurant, and a mom.

In 1994 they bought their retirement house in Lewellen Nebraska and spent the next two years preparing the home so that after summer of 1996 they could retire but her husband of 36 years did not make it. Mary’s daughter moved to Lewellen in 1996 and it was just the two of them to raise her two boys she adored. Her biggest dream was to live to see Brendon go to college and see Fran graduate. That was her life she was a devoted grandma and mother. She was the greatest mom in the world.

Mary Lou is survived by her daughter, Terri Lacrete and her two sons, Brendon and Frantzlee; foster daughter, Jennifer Ailant; stepdaughter, Vicki and her husband, Max Smith and her children Kelly Johnson, Rob Johnson, Eric Johnson, Andy Johnson, and Ashly Johnson; sister- in-law, Kay Tapp and her children, Stephanie Sanders and Jeff Tapp; brother-in-law John Tapp and wife, Marcia and their two children, Scott and Jennifer Tapp.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Sadie Hettrich; her husband Jack in 1996; and her foster son, Jim Gettys.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Lou Tapp, please visit our flower store.


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