TIPTON – On Aug. 25, 2020, Mary Jane Harper passed away at the age of 65 after a long battle with brain cancer.
Born in Anderson on Feb. 19, 1955 to Harold and Arnola (Cox) Noland, she was a devoted daughter, wife, mom and “GaGa.”
She was a member and faithful attendee of Rock Prairie Church in Tipton and was baptized there in 2004 by Kevin Carr.
In 1974, she attended the University of Evansville, where she earned her degree and became a registered nurse. During her time at U of E, she was a member of Phi Mu Sorority and met her husband, Mike. She worked for 10 years as an ICU nurse and was known for her empathy and for the great care she provided her patients.
She married Dr. Michael Harper on Sept. 10, 1977 and together they had five children. She spent her days caring for her kids, husband, and her many animals. She enjoyed daily lunches with her husband sitting in the Tractor Supply parking lot, listening to talk radio. They made great memories traveling together and especially loved going on Disney cruises together.
As a mom, she was unmatched in her ability to keep tabs on all five of her kids at all times. You would often see her with a Diet Coke in one hand and her cell phone in another, no doubt talking to one of her kids just to find out how each of their days were going. She taught her kids how to love one another and frequently reminded them that they would be each other’s best friends some day. She was not wrong about that.
Mary spent her life caring for others. She was Tipton County’s first ever CASA and spent hours thinking of ways to improve other people’s lives. She was also an avid animal lover. In her lifetime, she adopted and gentled seven wild mustangs and rescued countless dogs, cats, bunnies and even a couple of squirrels…often against her husband’s wishes.
She was, no doubt, greeted in heaven by her beloved “Daddy,” Harold Noland; her mother-in-law, Joyce; and her sister-in-law, Ann, all of whom preceded her in death.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Michael Harper; her mom, Arnola Noland; and her children and grandchildren Kelli and Luke Lightfoot (Lucy, Logan, Harper, Holden), Beth and Charles Woelfert (Isla, Kinley, Mikella, Maggie), Dr. Rob and Emma Harper, Aly and Andy Baker (Emerson, Shepard) and Ethan and Merrill Harper. She also leaves behind her brother, Greg Noland; her father-in-law, Elbert Harper; and countless nieces and nephews, all of whom she dearly loved.
The family would like to publicly thank the numerous doctors, nurses, and caregivers who helped us enjoy extra time with her. Heart and Soul Caring and Miller’s Merry Manor in Tipton provided wonderful care and we are forever grateful.
Mary loved kind gestures, but she did not enjoy receiving flowers. They reminded her of funerals and forgotten gifts for greeting card holidays. So, in lieu of flowers, the family would love for donations to be made in her name to the Boys and Girls Club of Tipton or to the Tipton County Foundation with checks memoed to either the: “Animal Shelter” or the “Mary Harper Scholarship Fund.”
A visitation for family and friends will be on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Rock Prairie Baptist Church, located at 421 North Ash Street in Tipton.
A funeral service celebrating Mary’s life will be on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, at 10 a.m. with Pastor Jerry Markins officiating, also at the church. Internment will take place at Fairview Cemetery in Tipton following the funeral service.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Taylor & Cowan Funeral Home in Tipton.
Please feel free to leave an online condolence or share a special memory of Mary with her family on her tribute wall at www.taylorcowanfh.com