Mary Louise "Mary Lou" Walter Ruggieri

January 21, 1925


Mary Louise “Mary Lou” Walter Ruggieri, age 96, a life-long resident of Kennett Square, PA. died peacefully on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at home surrounded by family. 

Mary Lou was born on January 21, 1925, on a farm on the outskirts of town.  Her parents were the late Ralph Harvey Walter and Mary Deborah Pennock Walter.  Mary Lou was the middle child of three, her older brother Ralph Walter, and younger sister and best friend for life, Janet Louise Walter Heist, both predeceased her.  They enjoyed a wonderful childhood in the country with horses, goats, dogs and cats.  Her father would take her horseback riding when she was a young girl, sparking a passion for horses and equestrian events that lasted her whole life.  She was soon fox hunting and competing in horse shows.  Mary Lou continued riding well into her 80s, taught all of her children and grandchildren to ride and to love horses.

In 1943, she graduated from Kennett High School and went on to Bucknell University, where she studied Social Services and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1947.  Mary Lou was a social worker and a hearing and appeals officer at the Department of Welfare.  She also taught third grade at Upland Country Day School and was a homemaker.

Mary Lou married her high school sweetheart, Archie Ruggieri on June 4th, 1949, while he was attending the United States Naval Academy.  They had six children: Deborah Baily (Robert), Michael Ruggieri (Nikki), Rebecca Miles (Drue), Janet Ruggieri, Barbara Ruggieri Bruni, and Melanie Pratola (Michael).  All but Archie and Deborah survive her.  Mary Lou was blessed with eight grandchildren: Mary Louise Baily Coutts (Nicholas), Alison Baily, Michael Ruggieri Jr. (Ashley), J. Drue Miles Jr., Melanie Miles, Zachary Bruni, Ivy Pratola and Rachel Pratola; and two great-grandchildren: Joseph and Jacob Coutts.  Mary Lou was a hands-on, loving, and caring figure to her whole family.

Active in her community for decades, Mary Lou served as a board member of the Barclay Home, President of the Kennett Square Riders Club, activities coordinator for After the Bell and volunteered at the Devon Horse Show and Fair Hill International Organization.  She was raised in a Quaker home and was deeply involved at Kennett Friends Meeting house, where she served on committees and taught First Day School.  She was well known for welcoming new members to the meeting house with a warm and generous spirit.  Additionally, Mary Lou helped to organize the yearly Quaker Fair and gave pony rides – a tradition her daughters carried out for decades.

Mary Lou was never idle; always working with horses, baking cakes, knitting presents for others or playing with her grandchildren.  She was a talented seamstress and made all her daughters’ wedding gowns and some bridesmaids gowns.  She enjoyed refurbishing antique furniture, playing bridge with her friends, going to the theater, reading, learning, and beach trips with the family.  She was a wonderful hostess who could fill a room with laughter.  Her greatest joy was being with those she loved.  Following a stroke in 2012, Mary Lou was cared for by her loving daughters. 

A memorial meeting for worship will be at 1:00PM on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Kennett Friends Meeting, 125 W Sickle St, Kennett Square, PA.  Burial will be private.  A ZOOM link will be provided for those who would like to attend virtually:{see}  

Condolences to the family can be written on the “tribute page” of this obituary.






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Memorial Meeting
September 26, 2021

1:00 PM
Kennett Friends Meeting
125 West Sickle Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348

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