Mary Lou Ranconi, 81, passed away on May 23, 2011, in Central Point, Ore. Mary Lou was born on July 13, 1929, in San Jose, Calif., to Elza Eloid Holder and Goldie (Marrs) Holder. Mary Lou grew up in San Jose and as a child she lived with her brothers at the Home of Benevolence. Mary Lou spent many years at the Home of Benevolence, Home of Beans as she called it with her three brothers. She didn't have much of an opportunity to be with her brothers there because she was in the girls" dorm, Lester was in the big boys dorm, and Claude was in the little boys dorm. They were often farmed out to foster families, but at the age of 14 she moved back with her father to take care of him until his death. She graduated from Portersville High School. Mary Lou spent most of her life in Santa Cruz, but later moved to Central Pont, Ore.

Mary Lou belonged to both the Native Daughters of the Golden West and a doll club in Santa Cruz. She was charitable to many organizations, including the Shrine Hospitals for Children, the Boys Club and St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Most notable was her charity to the kids of Jewett Elementary School in Central Point. For years, she gathered toys and coats to donate at Christmas time to needy children. Among the many wonderful qualities Mary Lou had, one was to make every child feel special. When she was a single mom, she took care of children, many of them kept in touch with her their whole lives and thought of her as part of their family. If she heard of a child in need, she jumped in to help provide what she could.

Mary Lou was a talented crafter and enjoyed sewing, embroidted blankets to charity. Marylou and Ted loved history and travel, and had been to the 48 contiguous states and Canada.

Mary Lou is survived by her son, Harry J. Mockoski, daughter, Jacqueline Mockoski, grandson, James Mockoski, granddaughter, Megan Mockoski-Danford, great-grandson, Max Mockoski, daughter-in-law, Jutta Mockoski, three nieces and three nephews. Mary Lou was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Theodore A. Ranconi, in 1998; her 18- day old daughter, Karen Diane Mockoski; and three brothers, Marion Holder, Lloyd Lester Holder and Claude Clifton Holder.

In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, 800-805-5856, www.stjude.org; or to the American Cancer Society, 800-227-2345, www.cancer.org. Please visit www.pacificgardenschapel.com to light a candle for Mary Lou, and share any condolences with her family.