Mary Lula Grodner

Published 7:02 am Friday, September 7, 2012

Jan. 5, 1935 –
Sept. 5, 2012

Mary Lula Laslie Grodner, Ph.D., 77, a long time resident of Baton Rouge, La., departed this life on Sept. 5, 2012.

Visitation will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the William B. Reilly Memorial University United Methodist Church. A service will be held in Mary’s memory at 1 p.m. at the church. Interment will be at Resthaven Gardens of Memory.

Email newsletter signup

Mary was born in her childhood home on the family shade tobacco plantation, Oakdale, near Attapulgus, on Jan. 5, 1935. She was the third daughter born into her family, which would grow to include three more sisters and three brothers. It was here that she learned the values that she carried throughout her life: love of family, love of God, respect for all of God’s creation, and the willingness to serve others.

She attended primary and secondary schools in Decatur County, Ga. and Gadsden County, Fla. She graduated from Wesleyan College, in Macon, Ga. in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She received her Masters of Science Degree in Zoology from LSU in 1957. While working on her Master’s degree, Mary met her husband of 53 years, Dr. Robert M. (Bob) Grodner, who was working on his Ph.D. at the time. They were married on Aug. 22, 1959.

Before the birth of her two sons, she taught at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, from 1958-1960. When her husband became a Professor in the Food Science Department at LSU in 1963, Mary and the family moved permanently to Baton Rouge. While raising her sons, she then received her Ph.D. in Entomology in 1973, also from LSU. Mary next continued her academic career as an Assistant Professor of Zoology at LSU. She moved from that position to serve as a Pesticide Safety Specialist for the LSU Agricultural Center as well as the long time Pesticide Coordinator for the State of Louisiana.

During her service with the LSU Agricultural Center, Mary authored numerous articles that have been widely published. Being a sought after speaker, she also made hundreds of presentations on the national and state level regarding pesticide labeling and usage, and other technical matters. She was also a member of numerous professional and scientific honor organizations, including Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta, the Entomological Society of America, the Association of Women in Science, and the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators.

Mary retired with over 35 years of service to LSU. During this time, she was also a very active member of her church, serving as financial committee chairperson and as chairperson of the administrative board of University United Methodist Church. Mary also served in various capacities with the Chapel Choir, the MYF, the 2 By 2 Sunday School Class and the JOY Sunday School Class. Mary was a life member of the United Methodist Women. She was also a long time member, past president and past member of the board of directors of the LSU Kiwanis Club. Additionally, Mary was a founding member and past president of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators. Over her long and distinguished career, Mary received numerous state and national awards. Those include awards from Gamma Sigma Delta, Louisiana Association of County Agents, American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, National Association of County Agents, American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators, the LSU Agricultural Center, Louisiana Pest Control Management and the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association. One of her favorite awards was the Distinguished Achievement in a Profession award from Wesleyan College, awarded to her in 1993.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Dr. Robert Maynard (Bob) Grodner. They were devoted parents of their two sons, R. Marshall Grodner, a resident of Baton Rouge, and Mark W. Grodner, a resident of Cooper City, Fla., both of whom survive her. She was also Mimi to her five grandchildren, Eulalie T. (Tess) Grodner, Eugenia Berry (Jeannie) Grodner, Robert M. (Max) Grodner, Jr., Gabrielle V. (Gabby) Grodner and Isabella Laslie (Bella) Grodner, all of whom additionally survive her. She is also survived her loving siblings and several of their spouses, Martha Jean Woodward, and her husband, Sylvester Woodward, of Quincy, Fla., Beulah Brinson of Monticello, Fla., Eleanor Griffin and her husband, Dr. Taylor W. Griffin, Jr. of Deland, Fla., Harriet Reynolds and her husband, Dr. John D. Reynolds III of Augusta, Ga., John Laslie of Quincy, and Berry Laslie, of Tallahassee, Fla., as well has her brother-in-law, G. Mayo Livingston Jr. and his wife, Carolyn, of Bainbridge.

She was preceded in death by her father Joseph T. Laslie, her mother, Annie Berry Laslie, her sister, Joan Laslie Livingston, her brother, Lt. Joseph T. Laslie Jr., U.S.M.C. and her brother-in-law, E. Bailey Brinson of Monticello.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Mary’s name to the Annie Berry and Joseph Laslie Scholarship Fund at Wesleyan College, 4760 Forsyth Road, Macon, GA 31210.