(405) 722-5262
8712 N Council Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73132

Mary Ellen Koelsch-Kearby December 23, 1934 - March 26, 2024

Date of Funeral

April 4, 2024

Funeral Service: 10:00 AM, Thursday, April 4, 2024, at Buchanan Funeral Service

It is with sadness we make it known our mother, Mary Ellen Koelsch-Kearby, born Mary Ellen (Ella) Burkhart on December 23, 1934, in Tuskahoma, Pushmataha County, Oklahoma, peacefully made her transition from life, after years of declining health, on the evening of March 26, 2024, at her home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the age of 89.

Mary was a positive, kind, loving, generous, and intelligent individual, who was quick to offer encouragement and comfort to those around her. Until her declining health made it difficult, she was an active member of the Unity Spiritual Life Center, regularly attending services, meetings, and learning experiences that enriched her instinctive belief in the power of positivity in thoughts and deeds.

Growing up in southeastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, Mary had an affinity for nature and the hills, valleys, and mountains where she roamed and played with her young brothers and sisters or relished following behind her Papa in the fresh-plowed fields. Those experiences imparted a love for growing flowers and plants, something she enjoyed until her very last years.

Mary’s mother, a school teacher, read to her every night and from her, Mary gained a passion for reading and solving puzzles of all kinds. So much was her love for reading and puzzles that she was busy with both of these activities until nearly her last moments on this earth. The same desire for reading has been handed to both Mary’s children and grandchildren (no doubt thanks to her reading to them as little ones) along with her interest in puzzles. Uncounted delightful hours have been filled by family members over a dining table covered in puzzle pieces thanks to this inheritance. Mary was also an avid Oklahoma City Thunder basketball fan, enjoying their win on her last evening.

After moving to the Oklahoma City area when she was 17, in May of 1953, at the young age of 18, Mary began her working career with Southwestern Bell Telephone. She worked for “the Telephone Company” in a variety of roles, starting first in Oklahoma City as a Clerk-Typist before ending her career with them in Saint Louis, Missouri, as a Management Secretary, her favorite job of them all. Starting work as young as she was, Mary was offered early retirement while still in her 50s and took the opportunity to move back to Oklahoma to be with her family. As an employee and retiree of the Telephone Company, Mary was active in the Pioneers, a volunteer community service organization dedicated to making a tangible change in communities. As a Pioneer, she often worked with children, enjoying her time with McGruff the Crime Dog, and dressing as a circus clown.

Mary is survived by her son, David R. Koelsch, her daughter, Paula E. Wade, grandsons Alexander Koelsch, Nicholas Koelsch, and Nathan Wade, daughter-in-law Julia Koelsch, Beau Wade, father of Nathan, and Wilson Mullin, of the home. She is also survived by her brothers Lester Burkhart, George Burkhart, and Gary “Mickey” Burkhart, and sister Linda Askins.

Mary was preceded in death by her sisters Jane Jiles and Betty Hawkins, brothers Harold “Bill” Burkhart and Joseph Burkhart, and her parents Claude Burkhart and Savannah Boatright Burkhart.

On April 4, 2024, at 10:00 am, a memorial to honor Mary’s life will be held at Buchanan Funeral Service, 8712 N Council Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73132. For questions regarding the service call Buchanan’s at 405-722-5262.

The Funeral Service for Mary will be held at 10:00 AM on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at Buchanan Funeral Service, 8712 N Council Rd. Oklahoma City, OK 73132.


  1. REPLY
    Angel Burkhart Williams says

    A true Southern Lady, full of class and sincere kindness. Rest in Peace, Aunt Mary. Hug Grandma Savannah for me!!

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