Mary Maureen Rapelje

October 20, 1956November 29, 2020

“We had fun, didn’t we?” Anyone who knew Mary Maureen (Doneth) Rapelje can answer her oft-answered question with a resounding “Yes!” Mary made everything fun, from running errands to hosting half the town for drinks, dinner, and making Christmas cookies. Born October 20, 1956 to John and Virginia Doneth, Mary loved opening her home to her friends and family and was always able to provide a wise word of advice, a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. It never mattered how you knew her, or even if you knew her; Mary naturally attracted people to her and she relished enjoying the company of those she knew best – or would get to know soon enough! Everyone loved spending time with Mary, gladly accepting her invitation to “bond”. Whether spending time up north at Walloon Lake, enjoying a wedding or family gathering, or just sitting in her living room, Mary was always the life of the party and the lifeblood of her family. Being in her house was like being on a sitcom; there was always a rotating cast of friends, family, friends’ friends – even an entire basketball team or two.

Fiercely compassionate and generous with anything she had to give, Mary accepted everyone and modeled the importance of never judging others. She encouraged the behavior she expected by subtly asking, “Do you think we should…” (which is the Doneth way of telling you what to do). Whether suggesting a more serious undertaking or merely proposing ice cream after dinner, Mary easily encouraged others to follow her lead.

Mary’s warmth and sincerity, coupled with her quick humor and ready smile, earned her friendships wherever she went. She worked for nearly 40 years as a legal executive at the law office of her brother, Dan Doneth, where her skills and personality made her a favorite of clients and also led to her being recruited for an additional position at KMG Prestige property management.

She met her match in the love of her life, Dave Rapelje. She was introduced to him by a friend in the gym at Lansing Catholic Central and would often laugh at him for wearing his shirts cut off like a crop top before football practice. Although when Dave called a few days later, she had no idea who he was until he clarified that it was “Rap” calling, she would soon not be able to forget him. Together, Mary and Rap built a family, welcoming daughters Jessica and Amanda. Their home became a gathering place for friends, family, extended family and the community as a whole. Everyone congregated around Mary and Rap and Mary relished the opportunity to cook her favorite meals and entertain her daughters' friends. She was always confident that she made the best of many signature dishes, including Christmas cookies, reubens, green bean casserole, chicken salad, Rice Krispie treats, lasagna, scrabble, and coconut bars. But for her favorite meal, flank steak and French fries, she relied on the men in her life, first her dad and then her husband.

Mary kept an impeccably clean home, cleaning through parties even while being the life of the party. No chair was ever out of place, the laundry was done at least once a day, and she was adamant that cabinet doors be shut. She vacuumed the house constantly and made sure everyone knew how to correctly put out a fresh roll of toilet paper. She never missed a birthday card and always made sure her handwritten note would arrive on the exact date.

These high standards were well-known and respected; Mary’s approval was the gold standard for entry into the Doneth family. Newcomers to the family, whether spouses of her children, siblings, or nieces and nephews, knew Mary’s blessing meant the most. Mary’s greatest accomplishment and joy was her family. She enjoyed an extremely close bond with her siblings, nieces and nephews. Later in life, her grandchildren were an unmatched blessing in an already vibrant life. She departed this life on November 29th, leaving behind a grateful and loving family who will tremendously miss her energy, life lessons and strength. They include her husband, David “Rap” Rapelje, daughters Jessica (Dexter) Rauch, Amanda (Daniel) Betke, grandchildren Payton and Quinn Rauch and Lincoln Betke, brothers Dan Doneth (Lisa Davis), Peter (Sally) Doneth, and John Doneth, and sisters Jaimie (Don) Pribble and Debbie (Bob) DiLeonardi. She joins her family who has passed on before her, including her parents Virginia and John Doneth, brother Thomas Doneth, mother-in-law Shirley Rapelje, and sisters-in-law Karen Rapelje-Short and Sue Doneth.

A Funeral Mass and Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, July 29, 2021 at 11:00 am at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 955 Alton Road, E. Lansing, MI. The family will receive guests one hour prior to the Mass.

Mary profoundly provided care and compassion for others throughout her lifetime. She would be honored by your support of “Build a Team of Hope” a fundraising effort established by Mary’s two sons-in-law, Dexter Rauch and Daniel Betke, to benefit patients and families battling cancer.

Contributions may be made to “Build a Team of Hope,” (, via Venmo @Build-A-Team, or by mail c/o David Rapelje, 7100 State Road, East Lansing, MI 48823)

The Rapelje family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 1730 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI. Online condolences may be offered in Mary’s memory at


29 July

Memorial Gathering

10:00 am - 11:00 am

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

955 Alton Road
East Lansing, Mi 48823

29 July

Memorial Mass

11:00 am

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

955 Alton Road
East Lansing, Mi 48823


Mary Maureen Rapelje

have a memory or condolence to add?

Cheryl Ash

December 7, 2020

You will be truly missed Mary. Our family got together with yours was a great time will be truly missed


December 4, 2020

It is with such sadness that I read of Mary's passing. The charming, outgoing, lively redhead was the shining light of goodness and love. Her wonderful family, immediate and extended, and legion of friends will miss her contagious smile and caring ways.
My sisters, Patty and Rita, and I offer sympathy and prayers to Mary and all our cousins who love her.

Jack & Shirley Tingle

December 4, 2020

We are sorry to hear that Mary died, Dave. May God Bless you and your family with Peace. Jack & Shirley Tingle from Asbury United Methodist Church.

John Bengel

December 4, 2020

David and Family,
My thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. God Bless you all.

Donna Nowosad

December 4, 2020

Truly a woman (if you met her) you'd never forget. Such grace and beautiful personality. Mary will truly be missed by many. Our family holds her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

Gino Baldino

December 3, 2020

Dave (Rap) & family.
My deepest sorrow goes out to you and family. I just found
out about Mary's passing. I am so saddened by your loss. I have the highest respect for the Rapelje/ Doneth families. I have known Mary and family for a long time she will be forever missed by family
and close friends. She was a special person, she had to be to put up
with Rap and big D. My heart goes out to all the family and my best wishes to everyone always.
Love You
Gino &Irene Baldino

Barbara Andries (Hanson)

December 3, 2020

Rap, girls & the Doneth family, I am so sorry to hear of Mary's passing! She was an awesome woman, & will be truly missed. Love & hugs to you all!
Barb ( Hanson) Andries

Rhonda Sosnowski (Brownell)

December 3, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.
Rhonda Sosnowski (Brownell)

Elissa Voigt

December 3, 2020

Mary, Rap, Jessica and Amanda moved in next door and never had I ever had a better xmas cookie tray. I looked
Forward to them every year. There were brownies, rice crispies, cookies, chocolates, and more. I only knew her through that tray but I knew she took pride in what she did and that she consistently came through for not only the important people in her life but the ones who just wound up near her as well. I hope I can make a tray that good someday...

Heather Fitzgerald

December 3, 2020

Mary knew me since before I was born. Her and my mom were best friends. Mary was a life saver for me through my teen years. She always knew what to say. She bought me Chinese food, rented a movie and ate ice cream with me when I ran away from my house to her house. I babysat her daughters in the summers for many years, they were like little sisters to me. This family is amazing and such an inspiration to us all on how to be strong and never give up. I love you Rapeljes forever and always. I will see you again Mae Mae! RIP