Mary Elizabeth Gillette (Blacktopp), 88 of Ames, passed away Thursday, September 20, 2018.
Mary was born in Duluth, MN., June 6, 1930, to George & Louise Blacktopp. She grew up in Westby, WI., and graduated from Two Harbors, MN High School. She attended Duluth Junior College and graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Medical Technology.
While at DJC she met Deighton D.Gillette (Dale). They were married in June 1950. Mary & Dale lived in Pammel Court while students at ISU. Mary worked for Dairy Industries and Dale received his DVM.
After graduation they lived in South Dakota and California where Mary worked as a medical technologist. They returned to Ames when Dale joined the faculty of the Vet School at ISU. In Ames Mary was active in League of Women Voters and Memorial Lutheran Church. They added 3 children to their family, Jennifer, Bill and Winnie.
In the early 1970's they moved to Chile where Dale served as a visiting professor and they considered moving there on a permanent basis. They did make the move and became farmers when they purchased land near Valdivia. They had dairy cattle, field crops, sheep and honey bees. There Mary learned to run a farm, raise sheep and develop a cross bred variety of sheep well suited to Chile. After Dale's death she sold the farm and returned to Ames. She was active with English for International Students, FISH, TOPS, Memorial Lutheran Church choir, a driver for Meals on Wheels and College for Seniors.
When Mary turned 65 she fulfilled a long-held dream. She joined the Peace Corps and served in several different areas of Guatemala where she worked with groups to broaden their crop production and increase growing options.
For the last 2 1/2 years she resided at Northcrest in Ames and participated in many activities there.
She is survived by her children, Bill (Kimberly) and Winnie (Mark Parish), grandchildren Kari & Emily Gillette, Jennifer Parish and sister Dorothy Jorenby.
Memorial donations may be made in Mary's name to the Northcrest Foundation, 1801 20th Street, Ames, IA 50010.