Mary Louise “Mary Lou” Blair Rygaard

Mary Louise “Mary Lou” Blair Rygaard, 93, passed away at her home, in Santa Fe, TX on June 11, 2024. She had been surrounded with love from her family & her dog Taffy.

Mary Lou was born in Galveston, TX on February 19, 1931, to parents Charles William Blair & Anna Charise (Margaret) Blair. She grew up on the island with a love for boating and fishing; was a member of the International Order of Rainbow Girls & graduated from Ball High School in 1948.

Mary Lou married the love of her life, Pete Rygaard on August 26, 1949, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Galveston.  She worked as a Teller at Hutchins Sealy National Bank. In 1951 they moved to Texas City, had two sons & a daughter.  In 1956 they moved to La Marque, bought their first home & had their youngest daughter & youngest son. She worked for the Mary Moody Northern Boy Scout office in Galveston. She then became a Medical Insurance expert & assisted several local Doctor Offices in filing claims.

They raised their five children: Pete III, Dennis, Terri, Donita & Ricky in La Marque. They later moved to Dickinson, where they resided until 2019, when they moved to Santa Fe, TX.

She & Pete took joy in attending every one of their children’s baseball games, softball games, school plays, city parades, band performances, Scout functions, and other events. This continued for her grandchildren & great grandchildren. She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Dickinson since 2007, previously a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in LM & Memorial Lutheran Church in Texas City, where she led the Luther League Youth Program.

Mary Lou was a wonderful & loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Great-Great Grandmother, Mother-in-law, Aunt & friend. While raising their 5 children she was a Cub Scout Den Mother, Elementary school homeroom mother, Little League team Mother, a trophy winning bowler, & youth bowling instructor at Gray’s Lanes in Texas City. She loved gardening & served as President of the LM Garden Club. Their yard was voted “Yard of the Month” several times. She was an excellent seamstress and made many of the clothes she & her children wore in the latest style. She collected antique Depression glass as well as vintage figurines. She really enjoyed painting, researching family Genealogy and doing ceramics, many of which remain with family & friends.

The family vacations were spent camping at Garner State Park or Lake Tejas in Colmesneil, Texas. Other trips were to San Antonio to visit family & even to the World’s Fair in 1968.

Once the kids were grown, Mary Lou & Pete enjoyed travelling, taking trips to Missouri, Europe, Alaska, Canada, New York, California, Washington D.C, and cruising the Caribbean, usually with their best friends, Joe & Beverly Rankin. In Europe they delighted in a “10 countries in 10 days” tour along with 44 others. They made a trip to Hawaii with her brother & sister-in-law where they renewed their wedding vows for their 38th wedding anniversary.

Mary Lou was “First Lady” of La Marque, while Pete served as Mayor for 9 years. She served as Vice President & Program Chairman of LM Crime Stoppers for over 10 years & was awarded a Lifetime Membership.  She was a Member of LM Clean City Commission, Chairman of TC/LM Chamber of Commerce “Golden Division”, where she was “Cruise Coordinator” organizing many cruises to the Caribbean & Alaska, some with almost 100 cruisers (including kids & grandkids). Mary Lou served on the Chamber Board of Directors as Chairman of the Beautification Committee and Chairman of the Christmas Parade & Lighting Committee. She was selected as “Member of the Year” by the TC/LM Chamber for 1994-1995, and 2003-2004.  She was also selected as “Ambassador of the Year” in 2003. She was a member of the LM Youth Aid Project, LM Citizen’s Sheriff’s Academy, and Program Chairman for the Senior Group “55 Plus”. Mary Lou was awarded the Lions Club International President’s Medal for service by a non-member.

Mary Lou was nominated by her children & proudly won the Independence Village title of “Mother of the Year” in 2015.

She was preceded in death by her parents Charles & Anna, her brother Charles William Blair, Jr & his wife Louise.

She is survived by her loving husband of almost 75 years, Pete Rygaard, Jr.,  her 5 children: Pete Rygaard III & wife Denise, Dennis Rygaard & wife Babs, Terri Foreman & husband Jack, Donita Brannon & husband Barry, Ricky Rygaard & wife Lanie, 13 grandchildren: Richard Rygaard (Becky), Amey Eaton (Newell), Heather McCallay (Jason), Melinda McNatt (Michael), Niki Landry (Craig), Tyson Frost, Jeremy Frost (Niki), Dustin Frost, Abby Calhoun, Jason Lehrman (Kimberly) Nicholas Ward (Lindsey), Cody Rygaard (LeeAnna) & Brandi Gaspard (Ryan), 23 Great grandchildren: Victoria, Kyle, Lacey, Bella, Kenzy, Lani, Brittany, Taylor, Justin, Kailee, Kya, JJ, Ryder, Hannah, Breanne, Jacob, Rylee, Trentin, Jayce, Paiton, Emi, Kastan, Emily, 3 Great-Great grandchildren: Dallas, Maisie, Westin.

The family would like to thank her Caregiver Janie Davila, as well as her Hospice Nurses, Gina, Robin & Erica, with Traditions Hospice for their loving care of our mother in her final days.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Visitation 5pm-7pm Sunday, June 16, 2024 at Crowder Funeral Home in La Marque.  Funeral services will be 10am Monday, June 17, 2024 also at Crowder Funeral Home in La Marque with Graveside services following at Hayes Grace Memorial Cemetery in Hitchcock.

Pallbearers / Honorary Pallbearers are Richard Rygaard, Cody Rygaard, Jeremy Frost, Tyson Frost, Dustin Frost, Nicholas Ward, Scott Rankin, Bruce Terry, Jack Foreman, Pete Rygaard III, Dennis Rygaard and Ricky Rygaard.

In Lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Faith Lutheran Church, 800 FM 517 Rd East, Dickinson, TX 77539 or the charity of your choice.









  1. I love you, Aunt Mary Lou and you will be sadly missed. Thank you for loving me since the day I was born. Sleep in Heavenly peace.
    You’ll always be remembered with much love.
    Your niece, Melody Rygaard Smith

    Melody Rygaard Smith
  2. Mary Lou had a wonderful personality and was always kind and gracious. She made you feel welcome. I remember her from grade school in Galveston. A beautiful soul, she will be missed. Betty and I send our condolences to Pete and her loving family.

    James C. & Betty Crowder
  3. I remember going to her house when I was in Cub Scouts. She and her family are very special giving pɛople.

    Glenn Gillaspia
  4. Lion Pete,
    Sooooo sorry for your loss. I never met your wife but after reading the obituary I know she was as wonderful as you could have ever asked for. Lion David & I will be making a donation to your Lions Club.
    Lion Patti Zein-Eldin

    Patti Zein-Eldin
  5. Terri, so sorry for your loss I had met your mom and dad on several occasions when I worked in LaMarque and had no idea that you were their daughter. Diane and I will be praying for comfort for you and the family.


    Stan Young
  6. To the Rygaard family
    What an honor and privilege to have cared for and been a friend of Mrs Rygaard .
    She was such a positive person and I am better for knowing her ! What a life well lived ! My heart goes out to each of you … prayers for peace and comfort .
    With love
    Dr. Mary

    Mary Campbell-Fox
  7. My condolences to Pete, Peter Wayne, Dennis, Terri, Donita, Ricky. and your love ones. I will miss my sweet, loving first cousin and namesake. Mary Lou loved me from the day I was born and I have loved her. My father and Mary Lou’s mother were brother and sister. Mary Lou always called me by my childhood nickname, Pud, short for Pudin.

    Mary Lou (Pud)
    Mary Louise Kunkler

    Mary Louise Kunkler
  8. Our very sincere sympathy.

  9. Condolences from the Westmoreland family.
    Pete and Mary Lou, and their family, have always had a sweet friendship with our parents and our family.
    Thoughts and Prayers for your comfort.

    Henry Westmoreland

    Henry Westmoreland

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