Mary Dopyera

Obituary of Mary Louise Dopyera

Mary Louise Bishop Dopyera, 87, died Friday, December 18, 2020 at home. Mary Lou was born February 23, 1933 in Syracuse, NY to Elva (Tyre) and Wesley M. Bishop. She graduated from Wm. Nottingham H.S. in 1950 and was a 1954 graduate of Cornell University. She received a MS in Reading Education from Syracuse University in 1970. Mary Lou cherished her family, friends, her dog Sadie and her place on the Hudson River. She loved to read. She was a lifelong learner and traveler, known for her style and wit, inclusive warm smile, and happy spirit. After graduating from Cornell, Mary Lou boarded a ship with a friend to travel throughout Europe. She remained in Europe after her friend left and got a job in the kitchen of the London Clinic where she learned a lot about life and peeled a lot of potatoes. She then joined with the London chapter of the International Voluntary Service for Peace, a group that organized international work camps across Europe. Mary Lou worked with 14 other volunteers from 8 nationalities on rebuilding projects in many European countries. It was not long after she returned to the US that Mary Lou traveled to the west coast to continue her education, where she met her first husband, John Dopyera. Mary Lou began her teaching career in Stillwater N.Y. where she was a 7th and 8th grade English teacher. The couple returned to Europe to travel and lived in Germany before settling in Syracuse. Mary Lou cherished her children and the “song of the family” and spent many years raising her three daughters before completing her Master’s degree and returning to teaching Mary Lou loved reading and words. “Words, words, I love words. My whole life is words. I like to read words, to write words, to take words as spoken and entertain myself with words. Words define me and make me happy.” As a reading teacher and diagnostician, Mary Lou taught many children to read, first at Special Programs and then Dr. King School, before retiring from the SCSD. She was most proud of the reading instruction methods she used that incorporated many of her own techniques and contributed to her students’ reading achievement. Very involved in both of her communities, Mary Lou made a run for school board in the 70’s, was a member of PEO, DAR, the Riverside Epworth League, her churches, and the Syracuse Memorial Society. She was a member of the Syracuse Sunrise Rotary Club, and was the Club’s first female member and the first female president. Mary Lou was often found in her Adirondack home, reading in her swing on the bank of the Hudson River. She welcomed anyone who happened by and thoroughly enjoyed gatherings and happy hours with her family and friends. “Sharing memories, stories and opinions with the people I love are for me the height of joy.” Mary Lou married her beloved Dr. Robert M. Lerner of Harvard, MA in 2007. Throughout their marriage they resided in both Syracuse and their Adirondack home, and travelled extensively. Mary Lou was predeceased by her daughter Caroline Elva Joan Dopyera, her husband Robert, and her brother David T. Bishop (Beatrice). She is survived by daughters Barbara L. Dopyera Daley of Syracuse, and Suzanne Dopyera Kuntz (Dr. Bruce L. Kuntz) of Ithaca, her grandchildren Megan E. Daley, Bryan D. Daley, Cameron J. Daley, Elizabeth A. Kuntz, Emily G. Kuntz, Jessica C.S. Kuntz, and Sarah E. Kuntz, nieces, nephews, cousins, son-in-law Dr. Steven Rice and former son-in-law Douglas J. Daley, step-daughters Susan Lerner and Cynthia Bliss, and three step-grandchildren. Contributions can be made to Syracuse Sunrise Rotary Club, PO Box 206, Syracuse, NY 13214, High Peaks Hospice, 454 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801 (, or Hospice of CNY, 990 7th N. St., Liverpool, NY 13088 ( Arrangements are with Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel.
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