Mary Ann Croker Arends Lorenz (“Dr. Mary”), 96, passed away on April 21, 2023 after a short illness.
Mary Ann was born to two highly-educated parents, Hertha Charlotte Stebens Croker and Thomas Leo Croker, on November 16, 1926 in New Hampton, Iowa. Raised in Ackley, she graduated from Ackley High School in 1944 and attended Clarke College from 1944-1947. She transferred to the University of Iowa to complete her pre-medical studies and graduated with her B.S. degree from the University of Iowa in 1948. Ahead of her time, she attended the University of Iowa College of Medicine and graduated in 1952 as one of only five women in a class of 82.
She was married to Art Arends at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on November 26, 1958 in Manchester, Iowa, and they raised five children together. They were married for almost 25 years until Art passed away in August 1982. In 1983, she married Bill Lorenz at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. They were married until he passed away in March 2016.
After her internship year was completed in 1953 at Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, she came to Delaware County to open a private family practice. She began in Earlville and later solely practiced in Manchester. Her family moved with her as her mother assisted in setting up her practice and functioned as her business manager for many years.
Her vocation was to take care of the people of Delaware county and she loved every minute of it. She was so committed to the community that she and her husband, Art, donated the land where the new hospital was built so Delaware County could have updated medical facilities. She delivered over 2,500 babies during her lifetime. Recognized for her dedication to family medicine, she was elected to serve as president of the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians, was a Fellow of Family Practice, and served on the Admissions Board for the University of Iowa College of Medicine.
During her decades in practice, Mary Ann and Art took in students and residents from the University of Iowa College of Medicine to stay in their home for their rotations in family practice. It was almost always females because they wanted them to witness first hand that women could have a family life and be a physician. Mary Ann officially retired from private practice in June of 1991.
Both before and after her retirement, Dr. Mary threw herself into her social life in Manchester. Over the years, she was an active member of the Manchester Country Club, the Manchester Garden Club, P.E.O., and was a charter member of Catholic Daughters. She attended aerobics, Questers, and the Retired Nurses Group (they graciously asked her to join) as well as a social group that met at Hardee’s. She loved all the people in her life and frequently regaled her friends with stories from her life.
To summarize Mary Ann, she radiated light wherever she went. She laughed easily at herself and loved making other people laugh, too. She was a social butterfly extraordinaire. Mary Ann attended events six days a week and even made it to aerobics exactly one week before she passed. She went sliding into home with a smile on her face telling anyone she could that she loved them, had a great life and was ready to go home. This gives her family and friends great comfort.
Mary Ann is survived by her four daughters, Viv from Gleneden Beach, Oregon, Jeni Thomas (Mike) of Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, Susi Gordon (Paul) of Clarendon Hills, Illinois, and Teresa Cox (Pat) of Canon City, Colorado. She is also survived by her stepchildren, Victoria Moxley (Darrell)of Houston, Texas, and Will Lorenz (Nicole) of Rancho Santa Margarita, California. She is also missed by her 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren (with her third due in May), her longest and closest friend, Florence Parrott, as well as her many former patients and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Art Arends and Bill Lorenz; her parents, Hertha and Thomas Leo Croker; her brother, John (Jack) Croker; and her son, Arthur John (Jack) Arends III. The family would like to thank all who made her life so full and provided support over the years, especially Jane Murphy. As Dr. Mary would say, “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you…and I thank you.”
Donations may be made to St. Mary Catholic School or to Operation Santa Claus.
The service will be livestreamed and available at https://blessedtrinitycluster.com.
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