Mary “Lou” Zech (née Maki), age 75, passed away on May 3, 2023 at her home in Park Ridge, Illinois surrounded by her family. She was born on July 15, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, daughter of John William Maki and Florence Alice Johnson. Her mother passed away when she was six years old. She was raised by John and his second wife, Marjorie Janet Maki (née Mohr).
Lou graduated from Senn High School in 1965. Following high school, she enrolled in Walther Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and graduated on May 26, 1968. Lou began her career at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston where she worked as a registered nurse in the emergency room. She retired from St. Francis in 2018, 50 years after becoming an RN.
Lou was a beloved wife, caring mother, and loving aunt and grandmother. She married the love of her life, Alan Grant Zech in Chicago. They celebrated 55 years of marriage on March 9, 2023.
Grand Marais, Michigan was truly her happy place. Her grandparents immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Grand Marais. Her father was born in Grand Marais and Lou spent her childhood summers on the bay along with her late sister Lois Planthaber. She continued this tradition into her adult life with her own family, making frequent summer trips to the “Maki House.” She enjoyed sunbathing on the beach, reading, and taking long car rides searching for deer and bears. She loved Sable Falls, eating pasties, drinking root beer at the brewery, and supporting all the little shops in town. She instilled her love of Grand Marais in her children and grandchildren.
Mary Lou enjoyed shopping, family vacations, and spending time with her six grandchildren. She has a large collection of over 300 Beanie Babies. She loved her numerous pets over the years – Scottie, Precious, Fluffy, Chloe, JoJo, Parmesan, and Zoey. She also loved her granddog and frequent house guest, Emma Jayn.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John, Florence, and Marjorie, and her sister, Lois. She is survived by her loving husband Alan Zech; children Rodney (Melanie) Zech, Allison (Kyle) Schmit, Krista (Joe) Maratto, Olivia Zech; grandchildren Corey, Charlie, Benjamin, Amelia, William, and Noah; brother-in-law Michael Planthaber; nephew Michael Planthaber Jr.; nieces Jori (Tom) Smith and Juline (Aaron) Patlan; great-nephews and great-nieces Leah, Willow, Zachary, and Theodore; several cousins, including her dear friends Ken and Carol Gould and family; and all of her “Dollys” from St. Francis Hospital.
Whether you knew her as Lou, Mary Lou, Lulabelle, Amma Lou, Auntie Moo Moo, Sister Lou, or Dolly, her legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of those whose lives she touched.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MI 49839. Visitation will be from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. Interment immediately following at Rose Hill Cemetery, Grand Marais, MI 49839.
Those who wish to remember Mary Lou Zech in a special way can make gifts in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Association at http://alz.org
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Lou (Maki) Zech, please visit our floral store.