Chesterton Tribune



Services Friday for 'Miff' Mary Frances Woolsey

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“Miff” Mary Frances Woolsey, Porter, IN, formerly of Palatine, IL, “Miff” Mary Frances Woolsey, (nee Jones) died of cancer and passed on to Heaven a few days before her 90th birthday on June 27, 2015.

Miff was born in Asheville, NC, on July 2, 1925 and was married to “Chet” Chester Danforth Woolsey for 46 years.

She is survived by her sister, “Marty” Martha Harris of Tampa, FL.

Family includes children: Eve (Thomas) Neubauer of Schaumburg, IL, Kay (James) Heafner of Waynesboro, VA, Jeff (Laura) Woolsey of Kingman, AZ, Lee Woolsey of Oakland, CA. Grandchildren: Kelly Lakas, Colleen Neubauer, Lynn Mills, Suzi Neubauer, Adam and Luke Heafner, Bryan and Sean Woolsey, Alexander and Chloe Woolsey. Great-grandchildren: Darius, Ethan, Eli, Elsa, Evelyn and Kaiya.

The Dunes of Lake Michigan served as a backdrop to 37 years of Miff’s life after many moves to follow her husband’s career. Known around the dunes by her white van camper and jaunty canvas Tilly hat with the rattle snake band, she was the fearless deputy watch person for the dunes homes of Porter Beach and volunteer Park Ranger for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore visitor center.

In Atlanta, GA she attended Agnes Scott College and Georgia Tech. It was there she met her husband, Chet, of Elizabeth, NJ, when they traveled together with friends on a road trip to New York City. The couple frequented The Varsity Restaurant in mid-town Atlanta; it was then that Chet gave her the nickname, Miff. During WWII, Miff joined the WAVES (U.S. Women’s Naval Reserve) and she was courted by a young Navy officer, Cozy Cole, who published, in his 80’s, an extensive compilation of intimate wartime love letters between Miff, his red-haired girlfriend whom he called, “Rosy”, and himself; Cozy and His Friends in Love. A member and volunteer of Chesterton Art Gallery and a tireless promoter of the Caring Place Women’s Shelter, both in Northwest Indiana, Miff was an example of on-going service throughout her life, opening her heart and home to those in need. She was active in the League of Women Voters and known as the, “Lady Bug Lady,” selling these garden friendly beetles to homeowners for the benefit of the local League. A lover of reading, she inspired others to keep learning. Miff served as librarian at Liberty Bible Church in Chesterton, IN, for 25 years and tattered her encyclopedia bindings searching for crossword puzzles clues. An atlas of the United States was often opened on Miff’s table as the next cross-country trip was plotted to see her nieces and nephews in Tampa and Atlanta, or to roam the states pursuing her goal to explore all of America’s National Parks. Her adventures encompassed excavating archeological sites in Arizona, week-long wilderness rafting excursions down the Yukon River in Alaska, visiting lighthouses around Lake Michigan, participating in historic Voyageur re-enactments by portraying a Native American and camping with her children around the country to investigate its history and geography. Miff’s spirit of fun and creativity encouraged many inventive Halloween costumes sported by her children and grandchildren throughout the years. She spent countless hours in her beautiful gardens and was known for sharing seeds and plants. Miff loved her many cats, was an avid bird watcher and was a familiar sight searching for fossil crinoids along the beach or cross-country skiing through the dunes. Miff inspired many with her unconquerable spirit, as one admirer declared, “To think of her makes me smile!”

A celebration of life service and luncheon will be held at Liberty Bible Church on Friday, July 3, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. Church address: 824 N. Calumet Ave., Chesterton, IN, 46304. The family can be contacted at 232 S. Walnut Ln., Schaumburg, IL, 60193 or


Posted 7/1/2015




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