Mary Orlady Sperling

Mary Orlady Sperling, beloved wife of Anthony F. Sperling, (deceased), peacefully put on her wings, Friday, March 11, 2016.


Posted on 4/8/16

She was 80 and in recent years suffered from Dementia. Born Mary Gladys Howatt on July 10, 1935, in Langdon to Orlo and Thelma Howatt, she was one of 13 siblings, (Maurice, Lyle, Neil, Zilpha, Floyd, Wayne, Stewart, Russell, deceased) Mary is survived by her son, Lewis, his wife Susie, her two grand children Chris and Katie, three sisters, Marge Sturlaugson, Gertie Field and Faye Lorenz, her niece Peggy Mahlum, husband Scott and two nephews, Eric and Ryan. Family roots run deep with many extended family members in the Midwest whom she loved dearly.

Mary attended Jamestown College where she met and later married first husband, Benjamin N. Orlady of 22 years. They raised one son, Lewis Thomas Orlady II. Tireless, pulling up roots, 14 times before Lew’s high school senior year gave her a platform to become a skilled and proficient mover. She created “homes “always decorated with style that insured family happiness in Minneapolis, Denver, Santa Barbara, Bay Area, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. After divorcing, she settled into the resort at Northstar in Truckee, Ca. later, moving to Reno, NV., marrying, Tony in 2002. She was the “Love of his life and the only girl for him.” She had various careers as Co-owner of Truckee Book and Tea, realtor, sales associate at Ski Stalker and Norsport, but her most coveted role was as, “Mom and Grammy.” She had many loves in her life, with family taking first place. She adored husband Tony, dubbing him the finest, most honorable and loving man. She affectionately, referred to her son and family as, “The Kids.” Every moment, event, and celebration was deemed,” Special,” each, competing with the last. Visits to spend time with her sisters were precious to her. Physical fitness was a priority for her. She was a permanent fixture at Northstar on the mountain or X-Country trail or meadow. Residents at Casitas de la Sierra witnessed her countless laps biking and walking late into her 70’s. She was agile on the tennis court and was a gracious and formidable competitor.  Her favorite partners for a friendly rally or game of doubles were always her prized grandkids. On the Par Three courses in Palm Desert, she found humor, not frustration in her grandson and granddaughter. Family time in The Desert always scored high for coveted and treasured times that she deliberately orchestrated with great devotion and love. She was a devotee of Pilates and even a week before her passing on her last walk, declared, “Important to move your bones.” She loved books, always abreast of the most current read on the N.Y. Times Best Sellers List, Time magazine, and current news headline.  She was a fan of Rush Limbaugh, playing the piano, classical music, romantic movies, drafting letters on an old fashioned typewriter; had a gift with words and personal notes, inked with distinctive penmanship. She adored cooking for her family and setting the dinner table with tapered candles. Farmers Market tomatoes and a sauté of fresh corn and zucchini were summer staples. She loved breakfast out after church and made a mean raised waffle with fresh berries. A morning ritual of old -fashioned oatmeal, banana, nonfat milk and a cup of Dark French Italian Roast Caroline’s coffee, “the best coffee,” never deviated. She enjoyed gardening, had a green thumb with Early Girls and a love affaire with Hydrangeas, daisies and affinity for Baby’s Breath. Her home was never dressed without fresh flowers in cut crystal vases and was her mission to insure your home was too…her legacy lives on in our home. She was an avid photographer insisting every gathering, holiday and family moment be preserved on film, often captured on infamous black and whites of bygone days. We are forever grateful you insisted despite protest as we now treasure cherished moments recorded on film. She took her fashion cues from no one. She was a fashion cue. Impeccably dressed in her signature look of Eileen Fisher, Ralph Lauren, Polo and Tommy Bahama. Cole Haan shoes paved her step, as David Yurman jewelry completed her look. Not a fussy dresser, her style was classic, current, and stylish, dominated by neutral tones and natural fibers. She had a penchant for watches, ”readers” and broad brimmed hats. An avid sun worshipper, she sported a Polo cap, visor and one -piece Michael Kors or Calvin Klein as no one else could, accented by a smashing golden-bronzed tan. Hair always styled with a bobbed cut, with or without bangs as dictated by whimsy. A devotee of Channel make up and fragrance, her lips always dressed in Coco 416, a coral shade highlighting her perfect ivory smile. Our treasured memories of Mary are numerous. A precious one from our wedding when she arranged for 50 balloons to be released from their hiding spot under the deck at our reception. For 23 years, and counting, our dogs benefit from her fashion sense; sporting hand woven Mayan designed collars and leads. In the spring, we think of you as we hear the Chickadees call your interpretation of, “Hi Baby.” Your legacy and tradition of fresh squeezed OJ on Christmas morning and Chocolate roll for dessert after our holiday feast will pass to future generations.  No holiday will go by without the memory of a box of Sees candy. Family vacations are not complete without a competitive game of Scrabble. A Macy’s sale conjures your keen ability to buy everything with an additional 25%. Our children are blessed with memories of endless time spent on Grammy’s lap reading classics as The Little Red Hen, visits to Truckee Variety for a prized new toy, riding the Northstar bus, and playing an endless game of Gondola, and vacations to Palm Dessert. Your generous spirit will be remembered. The consummate, devoted mother and grandmother…Time in her last days were gifted with moments of clarity, noting her delight in hearing her son laugh and inquire if her grandkids and son were happy.  Staying optimistic,” she announced a week before her passing. We are so grateful for our times shared with you and the wonderful memories that we will have forever. To honor you, we will remember to “stay optimistic” and “to move our bones.”