Mary Louise Canter, 75

November 17, 2022

Mary Louise Canter, 75 of Lexington Park, MD passed away peacefully on November 8, 2022 at Calvert Memorial Health Center in Prince Frederick, MD with her family at her side.

She was born on April 7, 1947 in Upper Marlboro, MD to the late Albert Leroy Canter and Marion Regina Richards Canter. She was raised in Upper Marlboro where she attended Catholic Schools, lived in Baden for many years, and later relocated to St. Mary’s County where she resided for more than 30 years.

She was a skilled cook and baker which she demonstrated during her career at Mattingly’s IGA (later McKay’s), until her retirement in 2009. She continued to share her skills, even after retirement, feeding hundreds over the decades. From her famous stuffed-ham, chicken salad, and fried chicken to strawberry shortcakes and beautiful wedding cakes, she made everything with love and her creations brought joy to all.

Her hobbies included time with family, caring for pets, growing and gardening, celebrating life’s moments, searching for great deals, and a little gambling from time to time too – annual pilgrimages to Dover with her children, weekly ‘thrift store queening’ with her granddaughter, coordinating and attending family events, and simply being present for family-member’s milestone moments, were a few of her favorite pastimes.

A true friend to all living things, she was always caring for pets, plants, family, and friends. She was a constant companion to her dogs (Christmas, Little Buddy, Biscuit & Muffin) and adored her many birds over the years (even breeding them for a time so others could enjoy them as well). She had a deep appreciation for and love of plants and flowers. The title of ‘green thumb’ didn’t describe her mastery, ‘Plant Whisperer’ would be more appropriate. Mary Lou had an uncanny ability to revive and nurture even the most in-need, a skill she applied to many areas of her life.

As the middle child of 17, Mary Lou carried on the tradition of a large family filled with love. She was the matriarch to seven children, 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Regardless of the hat she was wearing or the name she was being called, ‘Daughter’, ‘Sister’, ‘Mom’, ‘Momma’, ‘Grandma’, ‘Maw-Maw’, or ‘Mee-Maw’, she was universally the heart and soul of her family.

Without fail, she was there for those she loved and anyone in need. She could tame the most difficult of situations and did so through love, and with confident faith and exceptional grace. Mary Lou gifted countless acts of kindness and kinship, big and small. Whether she was providing a helping hand, making a cake for celebration, giving guidance in times of doubt, bringing a smile to hard times, standing up for loved ones or simply walking by your side when you could no longer walk on your own – she gave selflessly of herself to all.

Mary Lou Canter was a woman of strength, rooted in faith, provider of love and grace – forever appreciated, beloved without measure, and profoundly missed.

‘A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us, he only takes the best.’

She is survived by her children: Noah “Junior” Howard, Jr. (Tina) of Lexington Park, MD, Johnny Howard (Cathy) of Lexington Park, MD, Terry Howard (Dawn) of Hollywood, MD, Wayne Howard (Laura) of Leonardtown, MD, Evelyn “Annie” Turner (Casey) of Lexington Park, MD, Tammy Howard (Pope) of Lexington Park, MD, and Billy Howard (Krystle) of Ridge, MD. Also surviving her are her siblings: Joseph Canter, Clarence Canter, Richard Canter, Charles Canter, David Canter, Cora Perrie, Thelma Dove, Carolyn Brady, Cheryl Garner and Lena Davis. She is survived by 18 grandchildren: Dana, Samantha, Brandy, Brandon, Ashley, Alexa, Morgan, Christina, Austin, Brittney, Ethan, Dylan, William, Messiah, Mya, Natalya, Jaxton, and Westyn and her four great grandchildren: Sofia, Landon, Alaina, and Josie.

In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by her siblings: Thomas Canter, Robert Canter, Claude Canter, Margaret Beall, Florence Walker, and Martha Addkisson; and her grandson, Cody Howard.

Private services will take place on November 21st.

Serving as pallbearers will be her children.  Honorary pallbearers will be their spouses, her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to St.Mary’s Helping Hands Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1658, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

Condolences to the family may be made at

Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A.