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Ring, Mary Lou

Mary Lou Ring (Luft), aged 87, of Appleton, Wisconsin, passed away naturally and peacefully in her sleep on February 22, 2024.

Mary – a beloved wife, sister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother – will be greatly and forever missed, and will always be lovingly remembered for her good heart, her character of integrity and resilience, her witty sense-of-humor, and the special love she gave to her family and friends. Mary’s path throughout her life was one filled with a strong work ethic, a sense of adventure, love and laughter (surely complemented by her witty sense-of-humor), and the joy of relationships found in family and friends.

Mary’s life began on January 24, 1937, as the daughter of the late George and Bertha (Johnson) Luft. From these beginnings, her early years started at a small farming home situated on the rural outskirts of Ogdensburg, Wisconsin. Born in 1937, Mary’s earliest years were marked by humble beginnings that were not all too uncommon during the Great Depression Era, lacking modern conveniences often taken for granted in today’s day and age, such as running water and electricity in her family’s home. These beginnings instilled in Mary a profound sense of resourcefulness, resilience, and an appreciation for the most meaningful things in life: family and friends. Throughout her life, Mary, along with her husband, the late Lawrence “Larry” Ring, lived in many places, which included various other places in Wisconsin, such as Appleton, Brillion, Princeton, and elsewhere. Aside from Wisconsin, she resided in McAllen, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada, for many years.

It was in 1965 that Mary met the love of her life, Larry. Their story began that year while she was waitressing at the Left Guard Charcoal House in Appleton – a restaurant operated by players from the legendary 1960s-era Green Bay Packers – where Mary first spoke to Larry as he worked as a bartender. Telling of what would become their lifelong future together, she forever recalled, word-for-word, her first-ever exchange with Larry over the speed of service on a drink order, where he jokingly suggested she might “get faster service” if she “tipped the bartender better.” This playful exchange exemplified their instant chemistry and the enduring connection that defined their relationship over the next fifty-plus years, blossoming into a lifelong partnership – both in love and business – as they later owned and operated the Crystal Lounge, a popular local bar and grill with a convivial atmosphere in Waupaca for roughly a decade in the 1970s and 1980s. Beyond managing their businesses and raising a family, Mary’s personal interests and hobbies included reading, traveling, and antiquing – activities she most often enjoyed with Larry, who had a particular fondness for gifting her jewelry he lovingly selected during their many travels and adventures throughout their life together. These shared activities highlighted the deep companionship they both had and valued in one another.

During her journey of life, Mary consistently blessed this world with her true essence: a beautiful woman with an even more beautiful soul, marked by intellect, class, and grace. She was a pillar of endearment and affection for her family, taking pride in both her life’s and family’s accomplishments, and in being a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to the many who loved her. She lived a life symbolized by a philosophy centered on integrity, self-reliance, and the importance of valuing relationships with family and friends, always ensuring that they felt her love and the warmth of her soul. Indeed, although Mary has left our physical world, her legacy continues to remain within those who truly knew her: a belief that life’s true meaning comes from the relationships we pursue, cherish, and nurture.

Mary is survived by her loving children: Barbara Arnoldussen, Timothy Masterson, and Mark Masterson; her grandchildren: Brittney, Jason, Chantal, and Joy; her great-grandchildren: Jacob, Ethan, Jayvion, Marcus, Geneva, Jada, Nevaeh, Matthew, and Kimberland; and her brother: Steve Luft. Mary was preceded in death by her loving husband, Lawrence “Larry” Ring; her parents, George and Bertha Luft; her son, Robert Masterson, Jr.; her grandson, Colin; and her sisters: Fern (Luft) Nelson, Elizabeth (Luft) Miller, and Betty (Luft) LaBar; and her brother, David Luft.

A commemoration of Mary will occur privately among close family members in accordance with her personal wishes. While she will undoubtedly be missed dearly by many, we find comfort in her words, as she would often say in recent years when reflecting on her life and the times spent with Larry, “we had a good life together.”

In closing, a light-hearted memento reminding us of Mary’s playful spirit:


There was a time not long ago,
When a love seat for two was fine,
But lately I’ve noticed,
The love seat has only room for mine!

—Mary Ring (2001)

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