Mary Ellen Conway Des Jarlais "Tutu"
MARY ELLEN CONWAY DES JARLAIS TUTU Mary Ellen was born on November 30, 1917. She was raised in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, a small village of 700 residents, where her father was the town doctor. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Wisconsin, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics. She continued her studies by attending Columbia University, while working part-time at Bell Laboratories in New York. After returning to the University of Wisconsin, she completed her Master's Degree in Home Economics. While studying at the university, she met Robert W. Des Jarlais, her future husband. After they graduated, he became a career Army officer. They married in 1943 at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma and began a journey together which reached around the globe, living in Japan, Germany, the Philippines, as well as a dozen states across the US. They moved 41 times with a family of four sons. Tutu was a life-long educator who taught students in elementary school, junior high school, high school, and the University of Hawaii, where she earned her Ph.D. degree in American Studies. She taught for many years in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, where she rose to the rank of full Professor and then continued as Professor Emeritus serving as department chair. Her specialties were in Asian housing and costume. She was the curator for the UH costume collection and worked as an appraiser of Asian arts and costumes. Mary Ellen wrote and published three books-"The Traditional Japanese Dwelling in Hawaii", "The Art of Asian Costume" with Carol Anne Dickson, and "Decorative Arts of Washington Place, 1847-1987", which was commissioned by Mrs. Jean Ariyoshi, First Lady, State of Hawaii, to document the history of the furnishings and artwork in the governor's mansion. Tutu was an incredibly happy person, always interested in others and in their well- being. She had everything that she wanted: a loving husband and family, a rewarding career, a long, healthy life, and the opportunity to touch so many lives here in Hawaii and on the mainland. She passed peacefully on December 10, 2014, shortly after celebrating her 97th birthday. Survived by four sons: Don, David, Dennis, and Dean Grandchildren: Genevieve, Jeffrey, Monique, Julia, Ryan, Drew, Kelli, and Robert Great grandchildren: Kenya, Dahlia, and Chanel Services for Tutu will take place at Punchbowl Cemetery on December 31st, 2014 at 1 P.M. Casual/Aloha attire. Please make donations to the Asian, Hawaiian, and Western Costume Collection through the UH Foundation at www.uhfoundation.org/Support CTAHR.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased