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Mary Lou Eckoff, 85, of Coloma, passed away peacefully at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph on Dec. 20, 2021 following complications after a recent fall.

Mary Lou was born Aug. 16, 1936 in Benton Harbor to Charles and Alice Arent. She and her three sisters grew up on the family fruit farm just south of Coloma. She graduated from Coloma High School in 1954 and received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University in 1958.

Mary Lou married Larry Eckoff, her high school sweetheart, on June 22, 1957. They enjoyed sixty-four years of marriage together on their own fruit farm and raised three daughters. Mary Lou enjoyed travelling with her family, reading, playing the piano, sewing, and crocheting. She was a lifelong active member of the Coloma United Methodist Church and a Life Member of the Order of the Eastern Star. She directed the church’s Cherub Choir for several years, and took on many leadership roles related to her girls’ school and extra-curricular activities. Mary Lou encouraged her girls to pursue their educational goals, and she set a marvelous example as a loving wife, supportive mother, and involved member of the community.

She is survived by her husband, Larry; three daughters: Janet (William) Peart of Davisburg, MI, Judy (Steve) Alspach of Chicago, IL, Diane (Jeff) Simon of Goshen, IN; five grandchildren: Eric (Naomi) Peart of Chesapeake, VA, Jillian Simon of Bloomington, IN, Bethany Simon of Lafayette, IN, Kevin (Allison) Peart of Mt. Pleasant, MI, Rebecca Peart of Davisburg, MI; three great-granddaughters: Catriona, Mairi, and Elizabeth Peart of Chesapeake, VA; a younger sister Dorothy (Martin) Hemminger of Brighton, MI; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Mary Lou was preceded in death by her two older sisters, Sarah Ann Smith and Betty Jean Smith.

Cremation has taken place. The family will receive visitors starting at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31 at the Coloma United Methodist Church and the memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31 at the Coloma United Methodist Church with a luncheon following. The use of masks and hand sanitizer are encouraged at the service and will be available at the church.

Interment of ashes will be at the Coloma Cemetery in the spring.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Coloma United Methodist Church or to a charity selected by the donor. Those wishing to leave an online message of remembrance may do so at


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