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Maryann Wetzel Keefer Mangus
March 18, 1941 ~ July 10, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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Maryann Wetzel Keefer Mangus, a woman who lived life with the spirit of a Golden Retriever, boundless energy, and a love for laughter, passed away at the ripe old age of 82, on July 10, 2023, in Cambridge, Ohio. She was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, on March 18, 1941, and boy, did she live a life worth wagging about!
Maryann, or as she was known in the dog show circuit, "The Collie Queen," turned her passion for breeding dogs into a thriving career, even without any formal education. You see, Maryann didn’t let a little thing like a lack of university credentials stop her from becoming a master of canine bone structures, standards, and all things dog related. She was a self-taught scholar, proving that the University of Life can sometimes be the best teacher. She was Christian by Faith.
She was a member of the AKC American Kennel Association and many Kennel clubs, making her mark in the late 70s when her Collie trotted its way to fame at the Westminster show. Her winnings at the specialties made her one of the best in show, not just among the dogs, but among the breeders too. Thornace Collies was her pride and joy, and she was known for lighting up any room (or dog show) with her infectious smile and contagious laugh. If laughter was a pedigree, Maryann would have been a purebred.
Maryann was a woman of many passions. When she wasn't at a dog show or breeding the next champion, she could be found on horseback or buried in a good book. Her interests were diverse, but her love for her family was constant. She was never happier than when surrounded by her beloved husband John D Mangus, her three sons Donald Keefer, Randy Cologie (Iris), and John W Keefer lll (Denise), and her daughter Stefanie Keefer McClain (Michael). Maryann was also the proud matriarch to seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, proving that her love for breeding wasn't limited to just dogs.
Maryann was the last of her siblings, with her two sisters Aileen and Marcie, and brother Ralph Wetzel having predeceased her. We can only imagine the Wetzel reunion happening in heaven right now, probably involving a dog show, a horse race, and a lot of laughter.
She was a woman who was loving, funny, and passionate. She loved life to the fullest and loved her children even more. Maryann was the kind of woman who could find humor in any situation, and that is how she would want us to remember her. Not with tears, but with laughter, with joy, and with a wagging tail.
So, as we say our goodbyes, let's remember Maryann Wetzel Keefer Mangus for the life she lived, the laughter she spread, and the love she had for her family, dogs, and life itself. She may have left this world, but her spirit, like a loyal Collie, will always be by our side.
In the words of Maryann herself, "Life is like a dog show, it's not about winning, it's about the joy you have along the way." And oh boy, did she have joy along her way. Here's to Maryann, a woman who lived life with the enthusiasm of a puppy, the wisdom of an old hound, and the heart of a true champion.
There will be a celebration of life at John Keefer's house, 42 Village Dr. Wheeling, WV, Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 2pm.