Having lived unto the Lord, Maryetta Billie Close died unto the Lord, at her home in Lebanon, on Dec. 4, 2016. Maryetta was born April 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, to William and Margareta Karas.
She spent her childhood teaching herself the piano, drawing pictures and memorizing scripture. Her love of music blossomed in high school with the flute and piccolo.
She attended Fenn College, writing the school's rally song, and graduating in 1947 with a degree in accounting. That same year she and Sam Close were married on March 28.
They moved nine times in 18 years, eventually coming to Lebanon with their children, Michael, Susan and Janet. Maryetta was thrilled by the open countryside around their home, and soon planted gardens and fruit trees. She delighted in sharing the harvest with strangers and neighbors.
She shared her passion for the Lord through music, scripture and prayer. She began playing the piano at First Presbyterian Church in 1964. Two of her greatest joys were in 1965 when she received organ lessons to become the full time organist, and when the church purchased a pipe organ in the 1980s. Her music ministry spanned over three decades. She loved to substitute at her son-in-law's churches when on vacation. She passed on her enthusiasm for music to several generations by giving organ and piano lessons.
Although Maryetta shared her love of the Bible within her music ministry, she also served as the Presbyterian Church prayer chain coordinator for over 20 years, and felt it an honor to pray for her community and world. She spent hours journaling prayers, and continued even as her health declined. When asked how to live a successful life, with wisdom of 90 years she replied, "Memorize the scriptures before you are in a hard place, because there's no time to try to remember them then."
Maryetta started a chicken soup "ministry" in her late 60s. Every winter she'd make and freeze batches of soup. When she'd hear of someone sick, a jar of soup and a prayer were delivered. It was a privilege for her to share Jesus' love with others through the gift of soup, prayer and a hug.
Maryetta knew the importance of living your life on the promises of the Word of God, and she shared her faith with her children, their spouses and friends; her grandchildren, Joshua Kern, Moriah and Juliette Landon, Ava Close; and anyone from piano students to the "Culligan Man" who entered her home. Called "MOM" by many, she gave her love and hugs freely and unconditionally.
While a short-term resident at Homewood Health Center, she occasionally shared organ and piano music, and kept an ongoing prayer list for staff and residents.
Earlier this year, she played First Presbyterian's organ again. A child from the preschool wandered up to the organ. Maryetta had her sit on the bench and began teaching her the stops and foot pedals. While they were looking at each other with great delight, Maryetta exclaimed, "Keep playing music and learn the organ, for you will feel God's Glory in it."
Maryetta was passionate about the organ and feeding people; it was her wish that, rather than giving flowers, donations be made to either First Presbyterian's "Repair the Pipe Organ Fund" or to Lebanon's Caring Center.
Maryetta will be laid to rest next to her husband Sam, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon in a private ceremony.
After the private burial, on Dec. 28 all are invited to a service of celebration at First Presbyterian Church in Lebanon at 4 p.m. In honor of her love of music, there will be a visitation and time of music at 3:30 p.m.
Myers Mortuary has been entrusted with arrangements.
Published on December 13, 2016