Mary Jean Blackwell was born March 18, 1934 in Marseilles, Illinois to Charles and Muriel (Orvis) Blackwell. Mary grew up in Colona, Illinois where she and her sisters liked to attend dances. At one of these dances, Mary met a young Air Force enlistee, Robert Charles Pelz of Blairsburg, Iowa who swept her off her feet, marrying her on February 10, 1954 in Blairsburg to live while Robert was overseas in England. When Robert was discharged from the Air Force, they started a family in Webster City, Iowa,. To this union 5 daughters were born and raised in their family home, which Jeannie still resided in at time of death.