September 30, 2010

'High-energy,' she loved the outdoors

'High-energy,' she
loved the outdoors

Mary Jane Fall lived a vigorous, physical
life, and she hoped others would, too.

So she taught them how. Hundreds of them
-- children in Camp Fire USA, an
organization similar to Boy Scouts and Girl

The Indianapolis chapter would have
folded from lack of funding in 1984 except
that Mrs. Fall and another woman, Linda
Sutton, stepped in and ran the operation as
volunteers. They did a job that had been
the responsibility of half a dozen paid

"Mary was high-energy," Sutton said. "She
skied, she whitewater rafted. There was
nothing she couldn't do."

Mrs. Fall was killed earlier this month in a
four-wheeler accident in the mountains
outside Ouray, Colo. She was 65.

An experienced rider, she was at the
controls of a two-person ATV when the
vehicle left the trail and plummeted down a
steep incline.

Her passenger, daughter Erika Fall, is
recovering from her injuries at her
Indianapolis home.

Mary Jane Mull Fall was born into the
physical life, the daughter of a prominent
farm family in Parke County. Her
upbringing "gave her a lot of self-worth
and sense of adventure," observed her
brother-in-law, Max Fall, noting her wide-
ranging interests.

She enjoyed quintessential rural pursuits
such as cooking and 4-H crafts but also
developed a keen interest in her husband's
hobbies, which included flying and off-road

She was active in the Experimental Aircraft
Association and the Indiana Warbirds
Squadron 3. She had a motorcycle license
and, well into her 60s, frequently got
around on a scooter.

She and her husband of 44 years,
Martin K. Fall, both graduated from Purdue
University. She taught school in Illinois
before marrying and moving to
Indianapolis, where they owned and
managed a manufacturing business,
General Devices.

They had two children. The eldest, Lisa,
died in a car crash in the 1980s. That "left
the biggest empty hole in her heart you
could imagine," Sutton said.

But it did not stop her or quash her bold
spirit. She devoted herself to Camp Fire,
helping keep the local chapter going for
two decades (it finally ceased operations in

She organized fundraisers and performed
other administrative tasks. But her favorite
part, Sutton said, was showing the children
the joys of the outdoors. "She and I would
take eight girls on all-night canoe trips
down Sugar Creek.

"That, to her, was living."

To nominate someone for "A Life Lived,"
please contact Star breaking news editor
Gregg Montgomery at
or (317) 444-