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Mary Lou (Parchem) Pelfrey

November 29, 1933 January 16, 2022
Mary Lou (Parchem) Pelfrey
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Obituary for Mary Lou (Parchem) Pelfrey
Mary Lou (Parchem) Pelfrey, age 88, of Stratford beloved wife of the late Troy (Gene) Pelfrey died Sunday January 16, 2022. Born in East Chicago, Indiana, November 29, 1933, daughter of the late John and Margaret (Freiburger) Parchem, she was proud of her steel town roots and her Chicago tough, can-do, fun-loving approach to life.

At 19, she married Troy (Gene) Pelfrey, her childhood sweetheart, and together they moved halfway across the country with only $1000 and two suitcases between them. She liked to say they were either crazy in love or just plain crazy. She and Gene had seven children and moved several times living in Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Ridgewood, New Jersey; Overland Park, Kansas; and finally, Stratford, Connecticut.

Mary Lou was a fixture at the Catholic schools her children attended. She loved to be around kids and she volunteered in the libraries, lunchrooms, and school thrift shops. She sent armloads of fresh cut lilacs to the schools for May crownings and never missed a school event.

At home, she was a talented seamstress and made many clothes and Halloween costumes for her children and made most of Gene’s shirts. She loved to celebrate family visits, holidays, and birthdays. Her focus was always on good food and lots of fun with raucous family card games and storytelling often stretching late into the night.

After Gene’s death in 1987, Mary Lou took a job as the assistant manager at Miller’s Hallmark in Stratford. She quickly developed a reputation as The Card Lady and truly enjoyed spending time helping customers find exactly the right card. She seemed to know the exact location of every card in the store. She made lifelong friendships with her coworkers. Some of the younger girls dubbed her Mama Lou and came to her for guidance and advice, especially if they were having a tough time at home.

Mary Lou had a gift for recognizing those people who needed a little extra love and wherever she could, she gave them that. She was a fiercely loyal friend and a trusted confidant to many. She will be greatly missed.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her daughters, Mary Margaret (Kitty) and Diane.

She leaves behind her big brother Jack and his wife Marge, her older sister Catherine, her children Bill and his wife Linda, Catherine, Caroline and her husband Dave, Troy Jr. and his wife Ginny, and Christine as well as her grandchildren Barry, Michael, Daniel, Jason, Chad, Jessica, Stephen, Troy III, Evan, Andrew and Eugene along with their respective spouses and many great-grandchildren, a great-great-grandchild, many beloved nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

The family is deeply grateful to Dr. David Jutkowitz for his many years of care and compassion and to the nurses of Bridgeport Hospital, especially on the Northwest 7 Covid Unit for their kindness and patience in such exceedingly difficult circumstances.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Salvation Army, 615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, Donate to The Salvation Army,

Friends are invited to attend a Funeral Mass on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. by meeting directly at Saint James Church, 2070 Main St., Stratford, CT.

Interment will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Trumbull.

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Previous Events

Funeral Mass of Christian Burial




10:00 AM 2/5/2022 10:00:00 AM
Saint James Church

2070 Main Street
Stratford, CT 06615

Saint James Church
2070 Main Street Stratford 06615 CT
United States





11:45 AM 2/5/2022 11:45:00 AM
Gate of Heaven Cemetery

Daniels Farm Rd.
Trumbull, CT 06611

Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Daniels Farm Rd. Trumbull 06611 CT
United States

Memorial Contribution

Salvation Army

615 Slaters Lane
Alexandria, VA 22314

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