Mary Elizabeth Stratton, known to her family, friends and colleagues as Liz, died peacefully on August 21, 2020.
Liz was a pillar of Topeka's community for many years — a vital supporter of Helping Hands Humane Society, Topeka Civic Theatre, Topeka Jazz Workshop, and the Topeka Zoo. Her affection for people, animals, and music — especially jazz — reverberated throughout Topeka. Her influence extended well beyond Topeka. She was a strong advocate of Glaucoma Research Foundation in San Francisco, CA. Donations in her memory can be made to any of these organizations. Her influence will remain in the hearts and lives of the many who knew her.
Liz was born Mary Elizabeth Mustard on November 14, 1927 in El Campo, TX. She was raised by her mother, Gera Rudder Mustard, along with two siblings, Beverly S. Mustard and Jack L. Mustard. At age 17, Liz traveled by train to Abilene, KS to meet her father and attend Kansas State University. After graduation, she was employed as a public school music teacher in Abilene. Liz and Lee Stratton were married on June 30, 1951 and settled in Topeka. Building their lives in Topeka, Liz always remained connected to her Texas roots as well. Lee died in 1993.
Liz’s quick wit and energetic sense of humor never waned in all of her 92 years. Her "sixth sense" about people allowed her to connect with individuals from all walks of life. She was compassionate and often a visionary.
Liz is survived by her sister in law, Jean Mustard, her nieces Susan Mustard and Sharolyn Sanchez, and nephews Thomas Mustard and John Mustard.
There will be a future announcement of a celebration of her life. It will be scheduled in Topeka at the end of the current pandemic.
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