Lifetime resident of Campbell County, Mary Ellen Schlautmann, passed away peacefully early in the morning of April 1, 2020. The world was a better place because she was among us for over 93 years as evidenced by her large extended family and countless friends who had the pleasure of knowing her over the years.
Mary was born on her grandparents’ homestead south of Gillette, Wyoming, on September 19, 1926 to Walter and Bethel Cohee. When she was 16, she dropped out of high school in Gillette to help support her family as a waitress. Later, during WWII, she moved to Casper and trained as riveter on airplanes to help the war effort but her father forbid her to continue this career. When her sister Dena moved to California because her husband was stationed there in the Navy, she joined Dena and picked grapes to earn a living. She later returned to Gillette and went back to work waitressing where she met Albert Schlautmann in the very restaurant where she was once a waitress.
Mary liked to tell the story of her first date with Albert when he took her on an airplane ride and she accidentally sat on the new Roy Acuff record album he had just bought her as a gift. It was the end of the record, but the beginning of a relationship and soon a marriage that lasted more than 60 years.
On October 26, 1947 she married Albert and lived the majority of her life on the Schlautmann family ranch south of Gillette. Mary was a proud rancher and avid gardener who had a full life raising her seven children, as well as bum lambs, orphaned calves and countless baby chickens. She loved all animals, and despite being allergic to cats and dogs, was always surrounded by her beloved border collie dogs and adopted many homeless cats. Anyone who visited Mary at the ranch was amazed by her green thumb as she tended to a huge family garden and grew an oasis of beautiful of trees and flowers.
Mary was a member of Campbell Cattlewomen, devoted member of St. Mathews Catholic parish, and generous supporter of many charitable organizations.
Mary is survived by her five sons, Joe (Vicki) Schlautmann, John Schlautmann, Ronald (Jeanie) Schlautmann, Patrick (Julie) Schlautmann, Michael Schlautmann; two daughters, Patricia Saunders and Zita (Peter) Schlautmann; sister, Bobbie Lou Paxton; sister-in-laws, Bonnie Cohee, Clara Smetana, and Lucy McMahon. She was also a proud grandmother who enjoyed being a huge part of the lives of her thirteen grandchildren, thirty-two great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren due in the coming year.
She was proceeded in death by her husband; her parents; five sisters; three brothers; two grandsons, Jacob Saunders and William Schlautmann; and granddaughter, Rachel Schlautmann.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 8 at Gillette Memorial Chapel.
To protect the health and safety of all, we are limiting our visitation numbers to 10 people in the building at one time, as required by state and local authorities and the CDC.
The graveside service will be held Thursday, April 9 at Savageton Cemetery, with Father Cliff Jacobson officiating.
A Memorial Mass will be held at a later date at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, once the COVID 19 restrictions are lifted.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in Mary’s name to St. Mathews Catholic Church. Memorials and condolences may also be sent to Gillette Memorial Chapel 210 West 5 Street, Gillette, WY 82716, or expressed at www.gillettememorialchapel.com.