Mary Angeline (Sandeen) Fernkes of Bird Island, MN, life-long resident of Renville County passed away on May 11, 2019 at age 96 at Grand Arbor in Alexandria. Mass of Christian Burial is Thursday, May 16th at 1:15 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island with Rev. George Schmit as celebrant. Visitation will be Thursday at the church from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Burial will be in the St. Mary’s Cemetery. Arrangements are with Dirk-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia.
Mary was born to Elmer and Vira (Tompkins) Sandeen on June 26, 1922 in New Ulm. She grew up at Hector and graduated from Hector High School. Mary enjoyed her school days and celebrated her class reunions and had as much fun planning the reunions as she did attending them. She worked in the U.S. Post Office and for numerous years she was a census taker. She met Francis L. (Fritz) Fernkes at a dance and as many men did in the 1940s he went off to war. When he returned, they were married on June 8th 1946 and they welcomed eight children into their lives. Mary and Fritz continued to enjoy dancing together. She loved sewing and was an outstanding seamstress producing many of her children’s clothes, as well as costumes for school musicals and dance recitals, long before they were all ordered online. Mary loved doing craft projects, reading, Bingo, road trips, and participating in the Renville County Genealogical Society. She was a Den Mother for Boy Scouts and also helped with the Girl Scouts and 4H. Mary was a faithful member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island and all of their children attended St. Mary’s School. She was an active member of the Altar Society and was one of the original chair persons for creating the St. Mary’s cookbook.
Mary is survived by her children: Susan (Harvey) Kranzler of Alexandria, MN, Jeanne (Jeffrey) Forrey of Redmond, WA, Peggy (Bruce) Pearson of Alexandria, MN, Joseph (Laurie) Fernkes of Willmar, MN, Anthony Fernkes of Bird Island, MN; 15 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren; sister Phyllis Grimm; sisters-in-law Lois Fernkes and Harriett Sandeen; and numerous nieces and nephews. Mary was preceded in death by her parents Elmer and Vira Sandeen; husband Francis (Fritz) Fernkes; daughter Mary Frances (Francie) Pearson; sons Thomas A. Fernkes and infant son John; sister Delilah Butler; and her brother Thomas Sandeen.
Dirks-Blem Funeral Service offers many styles of services to honor the memory of your loved one. Funerals should be meaningful, reflect the individual, and celebrate the life they led. Personalized funerals are more involved, giving people a chance to remember what made that individual so unique.