Mary Lou  Kauzlarich
Mary Lou Kauzlarich

January 16, 1933 - November 23, 2019
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Mary Lou Kauzlarich came into the loving embrace of the Almighty on the morning of November 23, 2019, with her daughter by her side. She was 86-years old.

Mary Lou was born in Des Moines to Mary Ann Lucia and Nick DePhillips. Nick moved to the United States from Cariati, Italy as a child. The family lived on the East side of Des Moines where Mary Lou grew up surrounded by an extensive Italian family and friends. One of her DePhillips’ cousins nicknamed her “Gootz” because of her signature laughing snort. She was thereafter known as Aunt Gootz or Gootzie. She and her siblings worked in the family restaurant. Mary Lou graduated from East High School. Shortly after graduation she met the love of her life, John Kauzlarich, at the Riviera Ballroom. They were married in 1954 and moved to Pleasant Hill where they lived for over 40 years. They remained very much in love and happily married until Big John’s passing in 2003. They had two children, John Charles (John) and Clarissa Ann (Lisa). Mary Lou raised her children surrounded by family creating memories by enjoying Italian traditions such as Sunday Dinner. John and Mary Lou loved to travel in these early years; a family favorite was to drive to California to visit family friends while stopping to enjoy national wonders along the way like the Grand Canyon.

Mary Lou had a long and accomplished career in the banking industry spanning more than 25 years. She started as a teller and retired as a Branch Manager/Assistant Vice President.

Upon their retirement, John and Mary Lou pursued their love of traveling more extensively with many trips such as to Texas to see their son John where Gootzie Lou cooked Italian meals for John’s friends, to Georgia to see daughter Lisa where they could travel through the mountains and to the ocean. They also loved to visit Branson. They were avid movie-goers and loved to go out for breakfast. But mostly they were content in each other’s presence.
Mary Lou was very committed to her Catholic faith. Mary Lou and John were lifelong members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She performed Eucharistic Minister duties and delivered communion to shut-in family members. They were also part of the Life in the Spirit charismatic group.

The apple of Mary Lou’s eye was her granddaughter, Claire Ann. Mary Lou was Claire’s loving and doting “Nonnie”. They spent countless hours playing and she was content doing whatever Claire wanted to do. Mary Lou loved attending Claire’s activities as she got older, and she loved going out with her for church and hot chocolate.

Mary Lou was an avid shutterbug and took thousands of pictures throughout the years. Upon receiving a printer as a gift, she proceeded to print hundreds of pictures, mostly of Claire and her beloved kitty Bella. Having her own printer at home enabled her to crop, frame, enhance, print and then share her photos with her loved ones and this gave her much joy. Her son, John jokingly claims she was the original “inventor of photo shop”.

While she was fun and whimsical, Mary Lou will be most remembered for her gentle and pure soul. She was mild and very patient. She was quick to laugh and quick to forgive. She was a joy to be around and was able to find contentment no matter what she was doing. Throughout her life she maintained a peaceful and serene nature. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Nick and Mary Ann DePhillips; her husband, John; her brother, Milo DePhillips and her sister, Maxine Carey. She is survived by her son, John; daughter, Lisa (Adrian Lanser); granddaughter, Claire Lanser; step-grandchildren, Chip and Ben Lanser; sister, Barbara Vignaroli (Angelo) and many extended family members.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 am on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 3300 Easton Blvd. In Des Moines. A private burial will follow immediately after the Mass.
Donations can be made in Mary Lou’s honor to St. Joseph’s church or to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Online condolences are welcome at





St. Joseph Catholic Church
3300 Easton Boulevard
Des Moines, IA 50317
Saturday, December 14, 2019
10:00 AM
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St. Joseph Catholic Church
3300 Easton Boulevard
Des Moines, IA US
Animal Rescue League Of Iowa
5452 NE 22nd Street
Des Moines, IA 50313