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Mary Precious Stone Rehfelt
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Birth: Sep. 14, 1908
Death: Apr. 1, 2006

Mary Precious Stone Rehfeldt
Mary Precious Stone Rehfeldt loved to dance. At her eightieth birthday at the legendary Chasens, she hit the floor with the grace of Ginger Rogers. In high-heeled shoes with ankle straps, with a line of men waiting and with the full Les Brown orchestra playing behind her, Mary was a delightful sight, cutting loose and celebrating a life that had been so full. "In her heart, in her soul she is a dancer. Look at how she carries herself , even down to the way she walks" recalled Wanda Lenk, her daughter-in-law who was a professional dancer and choreographer. A talented and petite young girl from Chicago, Mary started dancing professionally at 16. Joining traveling troupes she was their singer, chorus girl and, soon, their headliner. Before her twentieth birthday she had traveled most the Middle West, South and Canada and had entertained tens of thousands. She played the great show palaces and earned standing ovations at all the big State Fairs. After losing the annual Black Bottom Dance contest in 1926 to a mobster's girlfriend, Mary became a headliner at both of Chicago's top nightclubs, "The Samovar" and "Colosimo's". As "Mary Stone" she performed nightly at The Samovar, which was located on the ground floor of Capone's infamous Hotel, The Lexington, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and 22nd Street. At four feet, eleven inches, Stone would open each show with a large dance number. It was a fast paced piece, complete with spectacular tap dancing and soulful singing. That number always hit the audience like the pop from a roman candle. With the audience left standing, begging for more, Mary would introduce the next act, change costumes and head across Michigan Avenue to the stupendous Colosimo's nightclub. On the vast Colosimo's stage she would throw herself into a more complex opening act which rivaled the one she just finished minutes earlier. During the Roaring 20's in Chicago she kept this pace for years as the headliner at both clubs, performing with some of the biggest names in show business including Bob Hope, Rita Hayworth, Milton Berle, The Three Stooges, and many others. She had her first airplane flight with Major Albert Lambert who was the first person in St. Louis to receive his private pilot's license, having taken his first flight in an airplane with Orville Wright. Mary went on to solo in a biplane and get her private pilots license, even meeting aviation pioneer, Charles Lindberg. One night in 1934 after one of her shows, a long line of admirerers filled her dressing room. The room was filled with politicians, mobsters and legendary entertainers. As the room cleared a charming young man approached her. Eddie Rehfeldt was seven years her junior. She initially thought he was part of someone's entourage but she quickly realized that this fresh faced kid was building up the courage to ask her out on a date. This first date laid the cornerstone of their love and marriage. After marrying Edward Rehfeldt in 1940, she continued to work in Chicago. Edward Rehfeldt III was born on 1941 and their daughter Betty born soon after that in 1944. The family lived in River Forest for several years before relocating to the sunny agriculture beltway of Bakersfield, California in 1948. Married with two children Mary grew active in the community assisting her husband in starting his new electronics companies. More than "surburban wife," she combined her solid artistic background with an ability to entertain. She assisted in helping her husband's business grow rapidly. After her husband sold his companies in 1965 and moved with their son to Taiwan as the very first foreign investors there she faced a parent's greatest of fear, the tragic the death of her beautiful twenty-one year old daughter in 1966. After months of battling a dark depression, Mary left Bakersfield. She found a sweet, well-lit two bedroom apartment in Sherman Oaks. This singular geographical move would be the last one in her life. Formerly known as The Madison House, this apartment building would become the epicenter of her social and family life. The terrific women in that building would help her rebuild her emotional life. Over time Mary would become the unofficial Mayor of that apartment complex outliving most of her dear friends who helped her back to the world. After her divorce from Eddie Rehfeldt in 1975, Mary and her ex-husband remained very close. Two generations of family members filled the walls of her apartment with terrific memories. As "Grandma Mary" she was sometimes operating an Airport shuttle service for relatives and friends. There was no sweeter site than to see her smiling face waiting at International Arrivals after a long flight. Well into her late eighties Mary Rehfeldt drove dozens of her friends to LAX and in turn met hundreds of guests and family at the gate. Over the years she hosted a regular night of garbage poker. She baked hundreds of meatloaves and Slumgullion after daylong excursions to the Fashion Square or after one of her frequent trips to Universal Studios. At 89 she traveled to Paris and Moscow fulfilling one of her great dreams, to see the Bolshoi Ballet in its home theater. She was proud of the beautiful grandchildren, Little Mary, Eddie IV and Christopher who would stay with her for weeks at a time with a bunch of friends Mary would delight in taking to Universal Studios, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, museums, the beach, or to play in Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park across the street. Her great-grandchildren Nicholas, Alexander, Jake and Lily would follow and delight in that same tradition. In the last five years of her life, Vera Neskovich was able fill Mary's remaining time with great care, humor and love. Mary's family and Vera wrapped her in her final days with love and support. There is a great photograph, taken by a Chasen's photographer, showing Mary "Precious Stone" with a beaming smile. Though she was eighty on that day she appeared locked in a swoon, dipping to the final measures of the swing music of Les Brown's Band of Renown who played at her birthday party. Her leg is extended across the frame of the photo, her back is arched with her hand raised high and her arm outstretched to the heavens as if to say "you can't take me now, I'm having too much fun." She must have realized by then that this might be her last appearance in front of a large audience. She soaked it up for all it was worth. This past Saturday, April1, Mary Precious Stone Rehfeldt danced her last number and quietly left us for heaven. Memorial Service,Friday, April 7, 10 am at Pierce Bros. 1218 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024 Iterment, Friday, April 7, 2:30pm at Greenlawn Cemetery, 3700 River Blvd. Bakersfield, CA Reception, Friday, April 7, 3:30-6:00 at Maxwell's 1421 17th Place Bakersfield, CA 661 323-6889 Mary Precious Stone Rehfeldt September 14, 1908 - April 1, 2006

Published in the Bakersfield Californian on 4/6/2006.
Greenlawn Memorial Park
Kern County
California, USA
Created by: Diana Satterfield
Record added: Apr 06, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13871646
Mary Precious <i>Stone</i> Rehfelt
Added by: Diana Satterfield
Mary Precious <i>Stone</i> Rehfelt
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Sam
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- Marc & Donna
 Added: Apr. 6, 2006

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