Mary Jo Quealy was born March 29, 1935 to Josephine and James Quealy in Laramie, Wyoming. Her early years were spent in the Elk Mountain and Hanna, Wyoming areas with Elk Mountain always being her favorite. Her family moved to the Laramie area when she was in the 5th grade. She was enrolled in the University Prep School which was on the University of Wyoming campus. She continued school there, graduating from University Prep High School in 1953. In high school she was busy in many school activities, but baton twirling was what she excelled in.
After graduation she spent the summers working at the Big Creek Ranch outside of Encampment, Wyoming. It was there she met the cowboy from Nebraska, Ody Knoell. They were married in 1954 and spent their early married life working on ranches in southeastern Wyoming. During this time, Bunny was born in 1958 and Jody in 1960.
In 1961 the family moved to Lewellen, Nebraska. Life in Lewellen found Mary Jo busy raising her family, helping on the ranch and working various jobs that only small, rural Nebraska towns had to offer. One of the highlights of this time was when her and her good friend, Audrey Schoneberg, opened “Audjo’s,” a ceramic shop. People from all over Garden County came to do “ceramics.” The 4-H program was important to Mary Jo, organizing and leading many of the activities. She was also involved in the Grace Lutheran Church, organizing Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and the ever-memorable Lutheran Food Stand at the Garden County Fair.
In 1966 Mary Jo had the opportunity to work Saturday mornings at the post office. This was the spark that began her passion for working in the postal service. During the 70’s she worked for the NRCS office. In 1980 she was hired to be the Postmaster in Crawford, Nebraska. With Ody’s health compromised, they sold their place in Lewellen and moved to Crawford. She continued her work in the postal service for the next fifteen years, serving as the Postmaster in Crawford, Kimball and Chadron, Nebraska. She retired in 1995 and Ody passed that same year.
In 1998 she moved to her acreage in Torrington, Wyoming on Buttermilk Road. She kept busy making improvements to her place, joining the quilting groups, and enjoying her neighbors. One of these neighbors, Chester Brooks, became a special friend. They enjoyed feeding his horses every day, shared many meals and conversation and looked forward to the weekly trip to Cheyenne to eat at the “Egg and I.” Chester passed in 2007.
As Mary Jo’s health declined to where she needed more care, she moved to a retirement community and an assisted living facility in Laramie, Wyoming. Her final move was to the Saratoga Care Center where she passed on February 1, 2021.
Mary Jo is survived by her daughters Bunny (Kevin) McComb and Jody Knoell. Grandchildren Bailey McComb and Breen McComb and great grandson, Brauley Ody McComb. A sister, Clara Mae Knoell and niece Ramona (Jay) Beach.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ody Knoell, her parents James Quealy and Josephine Roberts and stepfather, Ted Roberts. Her brother-in-law Jack Knoell and niece Sherri Knoell.
No services will be held at this time with a memorial service planned for this summer.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Jo Knoell, please visit our floral store.