BOZEMAN – Mary Chappelle Langan-Hansen passed away Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Mary was born in San Francisco on July 20, 1932, the third and youngest child, and only daughter, to Thomas Gwynne and Delores Aletha (Graves) Chappelle. She was married to Melvin Letman in Oakland, California, in 1952 and John Gibbons Langan in Virginia City, Nevada, in 1958. She moved with her family to Wyoming in the early 1960s, and eventually came to Bozeman in 1964. She met the love of her life, Chester “Wally” Hansen in Bozeman in 1967. They remained together for the rest of her long life, a total of 48 years.
Mary led an extraordinary life and in her teens and early 20s, she lived in San Francisco as well as in Sausalito, California. She had many friends among the beatniks in Sausalito and in North Beach. Mary was always interested in diverse cultures and she was formally adopted by the Shoshone Tribe on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in the early 1960s. During the late 1960s, she studied philosophy at MSU and was known by many young students as “Mother Mary.” Mary participated in several peace marches of the late 1960s and throughout her life, and contributed to many social causes and organizations, which fed the hungry and housed the homeless.
Mary and Wally eventually built their dream home in Bozeman, using the pioneering research on energy conserving technology that Wally developed while working for the National Center for Appropriate Technology in Butte. Mary spent much of her time planting and gardening at their family home, taking little jaunts on the blue highways of Montana, seeing parks and ghost towns, and engaging in long conversations about Celtic and Norse mythology, the classics, ancient Rome and poetry, always with dogs under foot.
Although she did not belong to any specific religion, she was very spiritual and had her sons, in their teens, reading “Siddhartha” and “Demian” by Hermann Hesse, along with many other writings on religion and philosophy. She was an avid student of her Welsh ancestry and studied her lineage enthusiastically, visiting Wales and reconnecting with her Welsh relatives.
Mary was a free spirit, marked by her crystal blue eyes and loved by all she encountered. Mary is survived by her loving husband, Wally; her four loving sons, Christopher, Mark, Jeffrey and Colter; as well as her five grandchildren. If you wish, Mary would want you to contribute to the Bozeman-area food bank.
A memorial celebration – “a big party,” as she specifically instructed us – will be held at 5:30 p.m., on Sunday, July 20 (Mary’s birthday), at the Lindley Park Center (old Moose Lodge), 1102 E. Curtiss, in Bozeman. Please join us for an old-fashioned Welsh wake and to celebrate Mary’s life!