Mary Lou Bassford
COLUMBIA — Every Sunday, Mary Lou Bassford would hug the college students at her church.
"Her faith in God and her family were the two cornerstones of who she was," said her daughter, Susan Bassford Wilson.
Mrs. Bassford of Columbia died Thursday, April 21, 2011, at Boone Hospital Center. She was 71.
She was born on May 4, 1939, in St. James to Leo and Grace Giesler.
Mrs. Bassford always took time for those she met, even the clerks in the checkout lines.
When Bassford Wilson was in high school, Mrs. Bassford was like a mother to the more than 30 friends her daughter would bring home every weekend.
She also shared her love for nature, especially with her family during summer excursions to national parks.
"I've never met anyone else who can wander through a Missouri field and say, that's a sweet William or that's a bleeding heart," her daughter said.
Since the family moved to Columbia 20 years ago, they have used the several acres in their backyard to plant many fruits and vegetables.
"She would let the rest grow wild and mow paths through it, so that she could wander around and see the Missouri wildflowers and trees," her daughter said. "It was a really cool backyard."
Mrs. Bassford cultivated gardens as well as relationships.
When shopping for her daughter's wedding dress, Mrs. Bassford picked the dress — the first one Bassford Wilson tried on.
"She picked it out right off of the racks," her daughter said. "It was perfect."
Mrs. Bassford graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1961. She worked at the former Gary Post-Tribune in Indiana covering weddings and lifestyle content.
She married Ronald Bassford on Dec. 15, 1962, in Jefferson City.
Bassford Wilson took after her mother and also received her bachelor's degree in journalism from MU in 2005. Mrs. Bassford's three children all earned law degrees, as well.
She also loved her grandchildren dearly, her daughter said.
"She will be missed," Bassford Wilson said. "She had a wonderful smile."
Mrs. Bassford is survived by her husband, Ronald; two sons, Andrew Bassford of Salem, Va., and Matthew Bassford of Joliet, Ill.; one daughter, Susan Bassford Wilson of St. Louis; one sister, Betty Sue Reeves of Nixa; and five grandchildren.
Her brother, James Giesler, died earlier.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.