It is with great sadness the family of Captain Mary Lou Calene, United States Navy (Retired) announce her passing after suffering the ravages of dementia for over a decade. Her importance to our family, her friends, in and out of the Navy along with her service and dedication to our country is immeasurable.
Mary Lou was born March 10, 1935 in Santa Monica, California the only child of Edwin L. and Wauneta T. Calene. Upon graduating from the University of California – Los Angeles with a major in Sociology, she entered the United States Navy in 1957. It was rare for women to join the Armed Forces at that time let alone make a career of service. She served 28 years 5 months during which time she obtained the rank of Captain and earned the Navy Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. During her service she also attended the Naval Postgraduate School where she obtained a Master’s degree.
Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents and two special cousins, Charlotte C. Dean and Camilla C. Griffin. Mary Lou is survived by numerous extended family and very close friends. Among the family are Penney B. Kronenwetter and husband Steve of Southport, NC. Their children Kelly K. Grainger and husband Billy of Little Mountain, SC, Katie E. Kronenwetter of Clayton, NC and Joseph M. Kronenwetter and fiancé Becca Ball of Cary, NC. Close friends and fellow Service Members include Doris Vail, Capt., USN (Ret) and Helen Hardbower of The Villages, Fla.
In accordance with her wishes Mary Lou will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery with full Military Honors on November 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm. To honor her distinguished Military career the family is extending an invitation to anyone who wishes to attend. Memorial contributions can be made to the charities of one’s choice or to the Smithsonian Institute of which Mary Lou was a lifelong supporter.
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