Gardening 06

Mary Lee (Hollinger) Lepping

October 15, 1933 ~ March 4, 2022 (age 88)


Mary Lee (Hollinger) Lepping, lifelong Salem resident and 88 years young passed away in her sleep March 4, 2022.   She was a loving mother, wife and grandmother who will be remembered for her warm smile, kindness, and classic beauty.  She was a friend to many, caring for them with her time and presence.  Her thoughtful correspondence and gifts of food were freely given to others when they needed them the most. 

Though her family did not live close by, she stayed connected by traveling to see her children and grandchildren often.  Both at home and away, family visits were always filled with special memories that only she could make.  All of the family shares fond memories of her love and character in lively moments of laughter, cooking, gardening, playing cards, building puzzles, or walking along the beach. She treasured time together with her family and she always made a point to know when the next “get together” was to bridge the distance.

Throughout her life Mary tended many gardens that flourished under her gentle touch and watchful eye. The ones in her yard reflected her persistence, resiliency, and inclination for perfection, even as she struggled to maintain them against the weather and her own inevitable physical decline.  For her, working in her gardens was a labor of love.

Other gardens sprouted from the people she met wherever her daughters (and grandchildren) lived.  In Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Colorado she was, and is, loved deeply by people who knew her as Ms. Mary, Patti or Diana’s mom, Grams, or GiGi.   For those friends outside Salem that had the privilege to meet her, they sensed she loved her people and if you loved her people, she loved and embraced you. 

As a garden's peaceful beauty draws you in to rest and enjoy, so too her home welcomed both stranger and friend. For 60 years she was married to her first love, Jerry Lepping.  Together they built a home, raised a family, and enjoyed deep abiding friendships in Salem.   Later in her life, Mary and Keith Lofland found each other.  They shared these last wonderful years together, grateful for the special bond they had and the joy it gave them both.      

Mary had two daughters whom she loved fiercely.  Diana (Jim) Allen of Lafayette, IN and Patti Velky of Pearland, TX.   She experienced the gift of seeing four grandchildren, who treasured her love and affection, grow into adults.  Zach (Julie) Velky of Austin, TX, Sarah Velky of Friendswood, TX, Tyler (Christina) Allen of Huntersville, NC and Meredith Allen of Denver, CO.  Mary was also blessed to share the legacy of four generations with her great granddaughter in Texas Evelyn Hatley, who loved her “GiGi.”

Mary was born in Salem, Ohio on October 15, 1933, to Leland and Debora Hollinger.  She is survived by her sister, Margaret Sheets, of Cortland, Ohio.  She was preceded in death by her husband Jerry, her brother Morris Hollinger, and her sister Martha Green Whinery.  She will be cremated and a celebration of her life will be held at a later date with all the family together, as was her wish. Her spirit will remain and flourish in all of us as we continue to enjoy the many things she loved and shared. 

You could never get ahead of Mary on gifts or generosity. The family asks that you too embrace this kindness as a way to remember her. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the SHS Alumni Association, 330 East State Street, Salem, Ohio 44460, or the First Presbyterian Church, 436 East Second Street, Salem Ohio 44460.

For those wishing to contact the family personally, Patti and Diana have asked to make their email addresses available to you. They are as follows: and

The Kitchen is closed…now where is my lipstick?

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