Born Oct 9, 1930, in Portland, Oregon, Mary Lou Powell passed away on
Nov 2, 2020 at the age of ninety. As the only child of Frank and Stephena
Ambro, she had a long and satisfying life. Mary Lou experienced hardship
in her life, but refused to be defined by those hardships. When she was
nineteen, she married her high school sweetheart and love of her life,
Bill Powell. At age twenty, with six months until graduation from nursing
school, she contracted polio. She recovered, but was forced to give up
her dream of becoming a nurse. When Bill died of a sudden heart attack,
Mary Lou, at the age of thirty-eight became a widow with three children.
Despite her grief, she proved herself up to the challenge of providing for
She went back to nursing school and, after graduating with honors in
1974, she moved to Bend, Oregon with her best friend and fellow nurse,
Nancy Petersen. She accepted a position at St. Charles Medical Center and
as her skills developed, she gently mentored and encouraged new nurses. In 1985, when late effects of polio impacted
her ability to continue floor duty, she became certified in diabetes education. She directed the diabetes education
program for St. Charles until she retired in 1990.
In retirement, she continued to be busy, gardening, raising chickens, cows and the occasional pig. She loved the
beauty of Central Oregon and enjoyed bird watching, camping, fishing and learned to tie some pretty good flies. For a
number of years she was the campground host at her favorite campground on the Metolious River. In late fall when the
campground closed, Mary Lou and Nancy would drive south in their RV to soak up some sunshine or fi nd the sun on a
visit to Hawaii.
Friends and family were the recipients of Mary Lou’s passion for needlework. Quilts, needlepoint samplers, and
knitted blankets are treasured heirlooms. In her later years her son, Jeff , filled her closet with bags of yarn and she knit
hundreds of blankets, hats and scarves that were donated to local charities. An avid reader, she loved browsing the
shelves of her local library and buying books by the bagful at the annual Friends of the Library sales. When she could no
longer drive in the winter snows, she mastered reading on a Kindle.
No story of Mary Lou would be complete without mentioning her abiding love of dogs. From purebreds to strays, they
were always welcome in her home. Her final days were spent at home with one of her dogs, Bella, curled up next to
her on the bed.
Mary Lou was predeceased by her husband, Bill. She is survived by her children: Steve (Susan Sadzikowski) Powell,
Jody (Richard) Glaubman, Jeff (Heidi) Powell; grandchildren Jessie (David) Sterling, Casey Glaubman, and Laura (Greg)
Hansen and great-grandchild, Sophie Sterling.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations in her honor can be made to the following:
Partners in Care, 2075 N.E. Wyatt Ct., Bend, Oregon 97701;
Humane Society of Central Oregon, 61170 S.E. 27th St., Bend, Oregon 97702;
Post Polio Organization, https://post-polio.org
Because of Covid-19, a private family celebration of her life will be arranged at a later date
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marie (MaryLou) Louise (Ambro) Powell, please visit our floral store.