Mary Smeaton passed from this life on Nov 10, 2021, surrounded by her loving family in her winter home in Edina, Minn. A loyal friend, speed knitter, Packer fan, life-long New Deal Democrat, lover of dogs, Olympic-caliber napper, and small-town girl at heart, Mary lived a full life of 87 years from experiencing the Great Depression and WWII, to Facetiming with family and friends from her living room chair (most often successfully). Born at home to Isabelle and Elmer Donohue in Enterprise, on May 8, 1934, Mary grew up with her sister Ann and brother Bill in the small northern Wisconsin towns of Antigo and Crandon. She adored her father Elmer for his gentle nature and Irish wit, and foundly recounted a story of sitting around the radio listening to news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and being reassured by her father that the Japanese were not poised to invade northern Wisconsin. Mary considered her mother Isabelle her “inspiration and her beacon” due to her faith, strength, and determination. Mary’s early years were difficult, but she would often recall that those were lean times for everyone and so no one really felt poor. In fact, she often spoke of these years growing with her loving family and best friend Carolyn as some of the happiest of her life. 
Born into a family of teachers, Mary began her education at St. John’s Catholic School in Antigo and later graduated from Crandon High School in 1952. Mary went on to earn her first teaching certificate from the Langlade Co. Normal School in Antigo, and shortly thereafter landed her first teaching position in Hazelhurst. There she met both her future husband Bill and life-long friend Pat Meuli. Mary went on to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and in a testament to her own determination did this all while working and caring for a growing family of four children. 
Mary was a caring and dedicated teacher and spent over 28 years teaching elementary school in Janesville. There she developed a life-long circle of loyal and charismatic friends. Mary was always happiest in their company, often gathering for loud, messy, combative card games and just a few drinks. 
All who knew Mary knew of her affection for her dogs. As a young girl Mary got her first dog Snooper, a Spaniel who would nudge the family chickens off their eggs so he could steal and eat them. Mary owned many dogs over the years, and was commonly seen walking them to the post office or on the Bearskin Trail in Minocqua. Mary used these walks as one part exercise and one part opportunity to meet and greet; she was well known for striking up conversations with anyone who would so much as cast her a sideways glance. In Mary’s words “I have loved my dogs and grieved for them, but it is worth the loss for the time together.”
After splitting her time between Minocqua and Janesville, Mary and her various canine companions enjoyed a long, happy retirement at her much-loved lake home in Minocqua. She particularly enjoyed gathering family and friends there to share the beauty and spirit of Northern Wisconsin. Days could be spent puttering around the lake in her pontoon boat, picking about some local antique shop, or just walking her dog. Nights usually found her guests gathered in her living room, gas fireplace blazing away as everyone watched a movie (usually about WWII) while Mary simultaneously read a book and speed-knit another in a long line of sweaters or blankets that found their way to various friends and family members. Whatever the activity, Mary’s wish was for guests to slow down, take in the Northwoods, and enjoy each other’s company. 
Preceded in passing by her husband Bill, parents Isabelle and Elmer, and brother William, and held in memory by her sons Patrick, William (Patty), and Steven (Brenda), daughter Theresa, sister Ann (Ned), by many beloved grandchildren, nieces and nephews, her little dog Layla, and by many friends spread across the great Badger state which she bragged about so often. 
Mary will rest near her dear parents at Queen of Peace cemetery in Antigo. Her family is planning a celebration of her life to be held in early July in Minocqua, and hopes many families and friends can join together to share memories. All are encouraged to visit the Bradley Funeral Home obituary website at to share your thoughts and memories, and for future information about a planned memorial. 
In lieu of flowers or other gifts the family kindly requests donations made out to “YWCA Rock County Adams School Child Care” and mailed to “YWCA, 1735 S. Washington Street, Janesville, WI 53546.”
Mary isn’t really gone, she’s just out for a grand walk with all of her beloved dogs.