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She cheered for the Twins, loved Chuck Berry and did the crossword puzzle each day.

Mary Lou Westerberg, who died July 2, was the mother of Replacements rocker Paul Westerberg and radio DJ Mary Lucia. But her obituary has gone viral because its details capture the extraordinary nature of what might appear, at first, to be an ordinary life.

Westerberg thought "The Wizard of Oz" and "It's a Wonderful Life" were "sentimental fantasy crap," according to the obituary, which Lucia wrote.

"Her signature fragrance was Estee Lauder's Youth-Dew."

"At the time of her passing she had active crushes on Rudy Gobert, [Byron] Buxton, and some dude whose name we don't know from 'Dancing With the Stars.'"


A lifelong Minneapolis resident, Westerberg lived to be 100 and "still had all her smarts," her daughter Julie Westerberg said Tuesday. "She still was just a crackerjack." She died in her south Minneapolis home after a series of strokes.

It's been a tough week for the Westerberg family. Laurie Lindeen, singer/guitarist in the pioneering Twin Cities rock band Zuzu's Petals and Paul Westerberg's ex-wife, died July 1 of a brain aneurysm. She was 62.

"With the shocking passing of Laurie Lindeen. Both my brother and his son lost their mothers less than a day apart," Mary Lucia wrote on Facebook, sharing her mother's obituary. "Daylight is good at arriving at the right time. It's not always gonna be this grey."

Raising her five kids, Mary Lou Westerberg was "loving and giving and kind of silly," her daughter Julie said, forever retrieving something delicious from the kitchen.

Westerberg played the piano beautifully, Julie said, a possible source of her brother Paul's musical inclination. Mary Lou was "extremely proud" of her son's success, seeing him play with the Replacements at First Avenue in the early days and solo at the Guthrie Theater in 2002, Julie added. "That was just so special."

A devout Catholic, Westerberg never missed a Lenten Mass. During the Halloween blizzard of 1991, "She and I staggered, stumbled, plowed our way to church for All Saints' Day," Julie Westerberg said. "And there were two people in the church. A plow driver took pity on us and brought us back to our home."

She loved baseball — and the men who played it, Julie said. ("She loved men, period. She was even flirting with the fireman as they were taking her off on the cart.")

Baseball "really was everything to her," the obituary says. "Though none of us have taken a DNA test, the possibility that some of her children might be fathered by the Boston Red Sox's Ted Williams remains a running joke."

She worked as a personal banker, nabbing a few baseball players' accounts "much to her glee," Julie said. She wrote the kids letters of absence from school so they could all go to the Twins home opener together, scooting out of work early herself. One time, a photographer asked to take their photo, and she found the sports page — with her face on it — on her desk the next morning.

In this 1953 photo, Mary Lou Westerberg, right, was among the members of the Cecilian Singers rehearsing for a concert with Set Svanholm, Swedish metropolitan tenor, and the Minneapolis Symphony orchestra at Northrop auditorium.
In this 1953 photo, Mary Lou Westerberg, right, was among the members of the Cecilian Singers rehearsing for a concert with Set Svanholm, Swedish metropolitan tenor, and the Minneapolis Symphony orchestra at Northrop auditorium.

Peter Marcus

The family's obituary for Mary Lou's husband, Hal, had a similar emphasis on the details that define a lifetime.

"He was an expert bridge player, put ketchup on everything he ate, and shined our shoes for Mass on Sunday," according to that obituary, from 2003. "He did our taxes (only 3 out of 4 were audited) and cured our earaches with a puff of cigar smoke.

"He owned a pair of ruby slippers and yet never wished for a different life."

Until the end, Mary Lou applied lipstick each morning. And every Sunday at 3 p.m. she had the family over for dinner. Afterward, they'd play Scrabble or Password. "She was the absolute queen of the word games."

Westerberg's survivors also include her son Philipp, who, like his siblings, still lives in Minneapolis. Her eldest daughter, Anne Ellingson, died in 2021.

Star Tribune staff writer Chris Riemenschneider contributed to this story.