As the world transformed around her, the late Mary Esther Stodt played the organ inside SS Mary and Patrick Catholic Church on a weekly basis.

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, she played. When World War II started — and ended — she played.

When the blockbuster movie "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" hit theaters in 1982, she was still playing.

Stodt, who played the organ at SS Mary and Patrick Church from 1935 to 1985, died Monday at the age of 100. She was the second person to be baptized in the church, the first being one of her cousins. She was also its oldest member.

"What I will remember most about her is her smile," said the Rev. Marty Goetz, who pastors at the church.

Stodt was able to beat cancer, but after 100 years of life, her health started to decline anyway. She lived her final days in Great River Klein Center — the only barrier that could keep her from the church family she loved so much. Everyone in the church knew Stodt. Everyone loved her.

"She lived a good, long life," said Goetz. "She played great songs for the Lord."

According to her obituary, Stodt never married or had children, but she still enjoyed a large family of 11 nieces and nephews.

"She was just wonderful person," said one of Stodt's nieces, Kathy Lloyd of Burlington. "You'd be hard pressed to find a day she wasn't happy."

Stodt worked at J.I. Case Co. as an administrative secretary for 34 1/2 years, retiring in 1980. Though she took piano lessons in her younger days, she was self-taught when it came to the organ. She had to learn how to play three keyboards (one for the feet) instead of just one, and Lloyd still doesn't know how she was able to manage it.

"When we were kids, we would fight over who would turn the pages of the music," Lloyd said. "But she didn't need it (the sheet music)."

Mary Rae Schnedler, who worked 15 years for St. Mary and Patrick, remembers Stodt as "a neat little lady" who deserves recognition. Even after retiring as the official organ player, Stodt would go to the church after hours and ask for the keys so she could play again. She didn't need an audience.

"She had a book of all the weddings and funerals she played at over the years," Schnedler said. "She had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Grace Grotto."