Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors

1010 Bering Drive, Houston, TX


Mary Louis Rothermel Murphy Kister

July 2, 1928January 19, 2020

Mary Louis Kister passed away on Sunday, the 19th of January 2020, in Houston. She was 91 years of age.

A native Houstonian, she was born on the 2nd of July 1928, the only child of Louis and Mary Rothermel. A graduate of Lamar High School and Hockaday Jr. College, she earned her Degree in Music with highest honors from Rollins College in Florida. There she met and later married her first husband, Gerald R. Murphy, who predeceased her. Together they had four children. She is also preceded in death by her second husband, Albert T. Kister. Married in 1982, they embraced and were embraced by each other’s families.

Mary Louis’ love of music was reflected in her longtime endeavors for the Houston Symphony, where she served as President and as a member of the Board of Directors of The Houston Symphony League. She was contralto soloist at The Church of St. John the Divine for many years and served as a Stephen Minister. A Patron of the Junior League, she gave many recitals for the Junior League Musicals. She guest conducted The Houston Symphony in “The Syncopated Clock” at Miller Theatre, and conducted the Houston Pops Orchestra to benefit Vita Living. She and her husband, Albert Kister, chaired “The Miracle of Sound” Gala to benefit the Houston School for Deaf Children, now known as The Center for Hearing and Speech, where she was a past Board Member. She was also a former Board member of Houston Grand Opera and The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Research where she was a Lifetime member. She loved writing and performing songs to celebrate special occasions for family and friends. A certified member of Clowns of America with a degree in Jollyology and known as “Wacko the Musical Clown,” she carried her Kookalelei and sang to children in the hospital and to the folks in retirement homes. She had a gift for making those around her feel truly special.

She is survived by her children, Ross Murphy and his wife Monica, Christina Short and her husband Jim, Kenneth Murphy and his wife Sue and Karen Murphy, as well as John and Janet Kister and Josine Wood; and by her grandchildren who not only knew her as Grammy, but sometimes The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus or Wacko the Clown. Left to cherish those memories are Erin Mancha, Tara Murphy, Ryan Murphy, Michael Short, Christopher Short, Walker Short, Alyssa Goebel, Brooke Brodlowicz, Murphy Brodlowicz and Rose Eastman; and her step grandchildren, Emily Barre and Danielle Leggett as well as her longtime friend and caregiver Ruby Robertson. She loved traveling the world with her husband Al and taking her adult children and grandchildren on fun cruises and adventurous trips.

A memorial service is to be conducted at two o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, the 28th of January, at The Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Blvd., where the Rev. Louise Samuelson, is to officiate.

Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Sumners Hall.

In lieu of customary remembrances and for those desiring, memorials contributions may be directed to The Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Blvd., Houston, TX, 77019, The Houston Symphony, 615 Louisiana Street, Ste. 102, Houston, TX, 77002; or Baylor College of Medicine c/o Office of Institutional Advancement, MSC#800, P.O. Box 4976, Houston, TX, 77210

Mary Louis is surely singing her heart out in God’s Heavenly Choir of Angels.


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Mary Louis Rothermel Murphy Kister

have a memory or condolence to add?

Karen Murphy

January 23, 2020

Catherine Murphy

January 22, 2020

My dear sweet Aunt Mary Louis. I will always remember her on the beach in Florida with a big straw hat, tied on with a scarf, and big crazy sunglasses. She might have had a martini in her hand, hmm. Those were fun times. And never a dull moment with Her around!