CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Buck and Mary Ann Last have been a staple of the Crystal community for as long as most residents can remember.
Together they founded the Crystal Arts Council. Mary Ann helped create popular women’s teas and was instrumental in starting the Crystal Herb Society in 1991. Buck has continued to help with organizing the Crystal Farmers Market.
So when members of the Crystal Herb Society discovered that the husband and wife of 58 years would be moving to Midland to be closer to family, they decided to throw one last tribute to Mary Ann, in the style of a playful roast to celebrate their memories together.
Raising their teacups together Monday evening, Aug. 5, at the Crystal Congregational Church, members of the herb society toasted together one of the original members for whom they care so fondly.
“We know what a legacy is, it’s something that’s handed down and never forgot,” said Kathy Waldron of Crystal. “I’d like everyone to raise their cups to Mary Ann. May we never raise a teacup without thinking of you. May we never cut an herb from our gardens without thinking fondly of you.”
Mary Ann was presented with a custom-framed window by Herb Society President Carol Tomlin featuring artwork to remind her of the Crystal area, with an inscription reading “The Mary Ann Last Chapter of the Crystal Herb Society,” as the society will now be called.
“What a surprise to me to see all of you beautiful ladies in all of your beautiful hats,” Mary Ann said. “It was a dream for me to start the herb society. I have learned so much from you all, and it’s been a beautiful, beautiful thing. I feel we were forerunners in helping understand herbs for health. Thank you all for everything.”
The members shared humorous stories that spanned back many years about Mary Ann and Buck, including one about a unique technique to make Mary Ann’s prized flowers bloom.
“Mary Ann told me she had a secret to making her Monstera Vine bloom,” said Glenda Stauffer of Carson City. “She said that she would go outside at night, when nobody could see her, and she would whack it and whack it.”
Last responded with a laugh, “The neighbors hadn’t moved in yet, so we had a little more privacy and I was able to do that.”
Dorothy Eggleston of Crystal shared a story about when the two women would spend an evening together when they were young mothers.
“Many years ago, Mary Ann had this flat sailboat,” she said. “In the evening we would decide to go out sailing. One night, we got about to the island on Crystal Lake, but we couldn’t turn around and come back, so Buck would have to come out and haul us back. That happened about three times.”
But it was Buck’s response that sold the story.
“The last time we did that, Buck said, ‘If you girls ever say you’re going sailing again, I have just four words for you: the hell you are!’”
With much laughter, tears and shared memories, the herb society and Crystal community says goodbye to a couple who will always be remembered.
The Crystal Herb Society is currently looking for new members and meets the first Monday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Crystal Congregational Church.