Born to walk the trails, explore the quiet forests, climb the noble peaks and follow the babbling brooks wherever they led, Mary Geihsler left a world of staggering beauty and reverent wonder on Tuesday March 23, 2021.  She was 78 years old.  Never idle, Mary spent her life moving ever-forward along tree-choked paths, through fragrant fields of wildflowers, among rock-strewn peaks and sunlit valleys – her eyes lit with curiosity, her face smiling as she took in the beauty all around her and her feet driven to find out what was over the next rise.  To stop and sit on a rock to eat her peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a cathedral of sun and quaking leaves was as precious to her as Holy Communion.  Her appreciation for the beauty she found in every walk was matched only by her gratitude for the time she was given to take them and for the people she got to share them with.

   Born Mary Elaine Birnbaum, with blue eyes and curly brown hair on December 21, 1942 in San Antonio Texas, she spent the first years of her life living with her mother, her grandmother and her aunts in Fredericksburg as they all hoped and waited for their men to come home from the war.  When her father finally returned in 1945 they settled in Corpus Christi Texas where she spent her childhood growing up with her brothers Michael and Nelson not far from the sand, salt and wind of Padre Island.  She graduated W. B. Ray High School and earned an associate’s degree from Del Mar college.

    Enchanted by what she saw during a visit with her friend to Colorado in 1965, her life-long love for the wilderness was born, moving her to quickly secure a job and relocate to Denver, and her life in Colorado began. There she met the love of her life, David Geihsler.  They were married in December 1967 after his return from Vietnam and they moved to Colorado Springs and began to build their family.  Mary lovingly raised her three children and worked several small jobs to help support the family before joining the working family at Simpich Character Dolls in Old Colorado City.  She and Dave joined Redeemer Lutheran Church and were members there for many years.  During these years, she was also blessed to find an amazing group of women to explore the mountains with.  Together they hiked every Wednesday and shared the stories of their lives.  The women in this group have remained life-long invaluable friends who have walked thousands of miles of trails together.  In their retirement Mary and Dave embarked on many wonderful trips together visiting people and places they loved from New York to Seattle to Mozambique.  About twenty years ago they built a cabin near Tarryall and spent many a quiet hour enjoying each other’s company and reveling in the beauty around them.  After we lost Dave four years ago she renewed her focus on her family, her friends and her love of walking in the hills.

Mary was known for her enthusiasm for almost everything–a love of life which spread to all of us who were around her and enriched our days.  Her light shone far and wide and touched hundreds, and will shine on in all of our hearts.

As we all remember, every place was the most beautiful place she’d ever seen, and you got the feeling that every day was potentially the best day.  Mary had the gift of making us all realize that she was grateful for us and we will forever be grateful for her.

She is survived by her children Bret, Shawn and Greg, son-in-law Michael Lawson, goddaughter Bonnie Simmons, grandchildren Anna, Olivia and Sarina, great-grandson Easton and brother Michael.

A celebration of Mary’s life and her love of nature will be held outdoors at Hillside Gardens, 1006 S. Institute Street, on Wednesday, April 7th at 2 PM.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (, Well Child International ( or to the charity of your choice in memory of Mary.

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  1. Shawn, Greg, Bret – Diane and I are so honored and happy that Mary was part of our family. She meant so much to us, all that she and your dad did over the years to support and help us! They were responsible in so many ways for our big move to CO back in ’87, and since coming here the times we had visiting them leave such happy memories. Mary is where she belongs now, too, in her Father’s House, with David. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
    John 14:1‭-‬4

    Mary knew where she was going. Hallelujah!!

    Our love and thoughts always,

    Brian and Diane Echtenkamp

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