1937 – 2017
Mary Elizabeth Guenther Foege, 80, of Tacoma, WA was the first of two children born to Carl and Lucile Guenther in Webster City, IA on March 20, 1937. She attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, earning a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1959. After graduation, she began teaching music at East High School, in Des Moines, IA. During this time, she met and fell in love with a young seminary student named Richard Foege. They were married in Des Moines, IA, July 17, 1962. Their first son, Mark, was born a year later. The new family moved to Tokyo, Japan in 1964, and her lay ministry of service to the church through music began in earnest, hand in hand with her husbands ordained ministry. Their youngest son, Tom was born a year later. In 1969, the family returned to the United States and her lay ministry continued in service of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in the north end of Tacoma, WA. It would continue for over 40 years. She touched many lives as a respected piano teacher. She shaped many more lives through her teaching and directing of instrumental and vocal music groups. When she found the effort of her choir lacking, she would voice her disappointment by claiming she “wouldn’t take them to a dog show!” However, her affirmation of their outstanding performances was often emphasized by tears of joy. She was a fan of many sports and teams, but was always the biggest fan of her children and grandchildren. From concerts to plays, from dance performances to countless track meets, soccer, basketball, baseball and football games, she rarely missed watching them play or perform. And she always had an encouraging word to share afterward. She truly enjoyed travel to faraway lands with her husband, including many countries of Asia, Europe and the Holy Lands. Later in life, she also found time on Maui to be special and rejuvenating. She is survived by; her son Mark, daughter-in-law, Charelle, and their children, Kyle and Alec of Gig Harbor, WA, and son Tom, daughter-in-law, Vicki, and their children, Logan and Luke, of Kent, WA. She also leaves behind beloved in-laws, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, the Rev. Dr. Richard H. Foege, her brother, Carl “Pete” Guenther, her parents, her grandson, Brock Foege, her niece, Cindy Holmes and her nephew David Foege. Memorial services will be held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church (1315 North Stevens Street, Tacoma, WA) on Sunday, September 17th at 12:30 PM. A reception will be held at Emmanuel following the service. She will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery. In honor of her love for music and educating youth, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to The Newcombe Foundation, which places musical instruments in the hands of low income students so they can benefit from a musical education.