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Published: Friday, 4/28/2006

Ex-UT coach's wife took things in stride

Mary B. Lauterbur, 77, who ran the household, raised the children, oversaw the many moves, and still managed to make it to most home games in support of her husband, Frank, the legendary University of Toledo football coach, died yesterday in her West Toledo home.

She had developed pneumonia, her husband said. She had Alzheimer's disease the last 14 years.

The family returned to Toledo in the 1980s when her husband became a scout for the National Football League, covering Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. He retired in 1993.

"If you ever look at any coach, you're kind of a vagabond," her husband said. "You have to have a wife who has that same spirit of hard work and making a new home. She kind of looked at every day as a new adventure. I couldn't have had a more beautiful wife or exciting person. She loved football too."

The family moved at least 18 times, her husband estimated - from his first job coaching football at Wickliffe High School near Cleveland (he got the job offer on their honeymoon) through his jobs as head coach and athletic director at UT, where his football teams won three Mid-American championships and amassed a 35-0 winning streak, head coach at the University of Iowa, and assistant coach with the Baltimore Colts, Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle Seahawks.

"She raised the kids, did all the work, and paid all the bills," her husband said. "I just threw the check in the door. She did a fantastic job."

Her disposition helped her adjust.

"She was the kind of person who had a wonderful knack for making friends," her husband said. "They may not all have liked me, but they all liked Mary."

Her husband's jobs required them to entertain in the home, and "she was so gracious," Shirley Boyer, a long-time friend, said. "She was the classiest lady I have ever been around."

Mrs. Lauterbur was born in Gary, Ind., and was a 1946 graduate of Alliance, Ohio, High School. She and her husband met when she was a bank teller and he was a student at Mount Union College.

"I always went to her window, but I never quite had the nerve to ask for a date," he recalled. He saw her standing in the rain one day and stopped his car. She accepted his offer of a ride, and "the romance built from there."

Surviving are her husband, Frank X. Lauterbur, whom she married June 7, 1949; daughters, Mary L. Lauterbur, Fran Denny, and Carol Philyaw; son, Frank Lauterbur; brother, John Berea, and two grandsons.

The body will be in the Walker Funeral Home after 2 p.m. Sunday, with Scripture services at

4:30 p.m. Sunday in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 9 a.m. Monday in Little Flower Church, of which she was a member. The family suggests tributes to the Frank X. and Mary B. Lauterbur Scholarship Fund at the University of Toledo Foundation.



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