Mavis Blucher, who died Wednesday at age 92, liked to remind folks that she had not always been an old woman, though she had almost always lived in a shoe.
The daughter of a prominent shoemaker, Ms. Mavis, as she was known, was widowed at an early age and not long after her parents died, leaving her the home in which she was raised. Even then, the home was already a renowned local landmark because it was built to resemble a giant shoe.
Alone and childless before reaching the age of 30, Ms. Mavis did not remarry. She chose instead to turn tragedy into a full life and devote herself to raising foster children, opening her home to as many as 13 children at a time. She had several rooms added to her house, though due to some clever landscaping it never lost its appearance as a giant shoe, at least from the road.
Nearly 200 adults, now scattered across the country, consider Mavis Blucher “mom.” People recall how these grown children filled a courtroom some years ago to support Ms. Mavis when she was falsely accused by a neighbor of beating her foster children every night before bed for no reason. It turned out that the neighbor, who has long since moved away, was the one who disliked all the children.
Mavis Blucher said goodbye to her last foster child four years ago and declared herself retired. One of her foster daughters moved in with her own family to help keep house and care for Mavis and they were with her when she died. She is survived by too many children to name.