Mary Beth Dyke, aged 65, passed away on April 21, 2023, in Rockford, Illinois after a brief, sudden illness. She is preceded in death by her mother, Betty Jean (Harmon) Dyke and her brother, Frank Harmon Dyke. She is survived by her father, Frank H. Dyke; two nephews, Frank Louis Dyke (Elaine) and Andrew Dyke (Jenni) and great-nieces, Lexi and Elizabeth Dyke; as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in Michigan, North Carolina, California, Nevada and elsewhere, who loved her and will miss her.
Mary Beth had a challenging life, being born without any arms or legs, which led to steep physical barriers but also to many special opportunities. She had a gift of making others feel comfortable with her differences and was always quick with a smile and a joke. She could also lead with her chin when the situation warranted. Mary Beth was blessed with a talented and educated family who enabled her to live well and experience much, despite her physical limitations. One of her proudest days was when she graduated from Upper St. Clair High School, in the Pittsburgh, PA area in 1976. Later, she took oil painting classes and a few of her paintings are on display around the house. She also took acting classes at a community college and she impersonated Rosalind Russell. Mary Beth met Lady Byrd Johnson in Washington, DC at an early age, and was one of the first beneficiaries of Velcro, which was used to hold her prosthetics together.
Her father and brother also helped her learn and do things on her own using innovative tools. For the last few years Mary Beth made many true friends with her caregivers who are saddened by her loss. Mary Beth spent a lot of time on her computer shopping, playing cards and other games and communicating with friends and family. Her nephew set her up with mechanical aids (which included duct tape) which enabled her to use a mouse and keyboard. Mary Beth and her parents have been long-time members of Christ United Methodist Church of Rockford where they spent many years catering church meals. The church is still a comfort to the family, as are the neighbors in their Rockford neighborhood. She loved her German Shepherds, going out to eat in Rockford, and grocery shopping, although she never ate very much. She overcame adversity, celebrated her specialness and shared joy in life with others. May you rest in peace, Mary Beth.
An informal gathering is planned to celebrate Mary Beth's life on Saturday, May 20, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the house. Arrangements will be made later for a funeral and burial in Boyne City, Michigan.
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