Mary Lou Harbert

September 5, 1945 ~ January 13, 2022 (age 76)


"Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time." Sprowl Funeral

Mary Lou (Kaelin) Harbert, 76, of Indianapolis, Indiana, passed away peacefully at home on January 13, 2022, of pancreatic cancer. The oldest daughter of Emil and Catherine Helen Kaelin, she was born on her mother’s birthday in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 5, 1945. Her father had immigrated to the United States from Switzerland and her mother was the daughter of Swiss and German families.

Mary Lou grew up in Louisville, graduating in 1963 from Angela Merici High School, an all-girls high school where her dad was the head custodian. She completed secretarial training and worked as a key punch operator for several years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Catholic education for her children was very important to her, so she took a job in the school cafeteria at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis to pay for school tuition. She was an active member in her parishes everywhere she lived, namely St. Margaret Mary and St. Patrick churches in Terre Haute, and then at St. Jude in Indianapolis where she led the Wednesday morning Ladies Bible Study group for many years.

Mary Lou was a very affectionate and loving mother to her children and grandchildren. Her two biggest loves in her life were her family and her faith in God. She felt a special reverence for and closeness to the Virgin Mary. She also had a silly sense of humor, was often laughing, and was famous in family circles for the phrases she coined. She was infinitely quotable. St. Francis of Assisi would have been proud of her with the way she attracted and cared for stray cats wherever she lived. She passed down her love of animals to her children.

Over the last few years, Mary Lou dealt with the gentle form of Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia, which kept her feeling laid back and relaxed. She had a positive and grateful attitude and often said, “I only remember the good things!”

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her beloved parents and her brothers Emil “Junie” and Wilfred “Willie” Kaelin; her sisters-in-law Peggy Kaelin, Marlene Kaelin, and Jean Kaelin; her brother-in-law David Harbert; and her former spouse John A. Harbert, Sr.

She is survived by her cherished siblings Alvin Kaelin, Sr. of Louisville, KY, and Judy Ann (Jerry) Neckar of English, IN; treasured children John A. Harbert, Jr., Valerie (Jeff) Haggerty, James (Rebecca) Harbert, and JoAnne (Shabbir) Bhati; and her six precious grandchildren Kate, Lily, and Eddie Haggerty; and Naomi, Preston, and S. Hudson Harbert.

Funeral arrangements:

St. Jude Catholic Church, January 22, 2022

9:00 am Calling at the front of the church in the narthex

10:00 am Funeral Mass

Mercy Meal to follow in the Beatitudes room

Burial to take place at St. Michael Cemetery in Louisville, KY, at a later date.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Lou Harbert, please visit our floral store.


January 22, 2022

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
St Jude Catholic Church
5353 McFarland Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Catholic Mass
January 22, 2022

10:00 AM
St Jude Catholic Church
5353 McFarland Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46227

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