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She hasn't missed a Sunday in 59 years page 2
Member of St. Matthias United Methodist Church hasn't missed Sunday school for 59 years

 Mary Lou Pitzer helps teach the children's choir at St. Matthias United Methodist Church in Stafford County. Pitzer, 70, is also a Sunday school teacher. She's been at church every Sunday for 59 years, without fail.
photos by PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 9/29/2012

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Pitzer was 11 when she joined Morgan's Chapel United Methodist Church in New River, Va. It was the Sunday before Labor Day, 1953.

She was given a class of toddlers, which fueled her determination to be there when the doors opened.

"When you're teaching children, you don't want to miss," she said.

Then, she just made up her mind to be in class every Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

She and her husband, Gene, who have been married for 46 years, had their wedding ceremony on a Sunday. It was at 4 in the afternoon so she could go to church in the morning.

"Everybody thinks that's funny," she said.

As the years went by, her husband, two children and five grandchildren supported her. Whenever she was on vacation or visiting a relative, she looked for a church to visit.

While on vacation in Hawaii one Christmas, she attended a unity service for all denominations. She went to a Mormon church while she was on a Navajo Indian reservation. And while taking the grandchildren to Disney World, she found a church meeting in an Orlando hotel.

"Christians are all the same, no matter where you go," Pitzer said. "What I enjoy the most about Sunday school is everybody's friendly. You sit around, have coffee, and I just find it so exciting to talk to and to meet new people."

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com


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Mary Lou Pitzer wears pink running shoes when she's out and about, doing church tasks or visiting friends.

Her husband, Gene, walks about six miles a day and she joins him for an evening walk. She also takes exercise classes at St. Matthias United Methodist Church, where she lifts weights and walks. She does water aerobics twice a week.

One day this summer, she and her aerobics class went to the Massad YMCA Water Park while the pool they usually use was being cleaned. Some in the group looked at the water slides and said, "Look, we're 70, we can't do that."

Not Mary Lou Pitzer. "Our grandchildren said we were acting like teenagers."