Surrounded by the love of her family, Mary Alyce (Wirt) Walch, of Winona and formerly of Altura, died on Sunday, October 20, 2019. She arrived on the fourth day of June, 1933, on the family farm to her parents, Elmer and Maude (Beech) Wirt. The second of three children, she grew up with her brother, Russell, and sister, Rebecca Ann, who were not just her siblings but her closest friends as well. They spent their days playing together and doing chores in a home surrounded by faith and love.
Mary attended both grade school and high school in Lewiston, Minn. She fondly recalled those days and hated for the school year to begin and end while loving everything in between. A dark-haired young man with a handsome smile, Roman Walch, caught her eye when he transferred to school her senior year. While he escorted her to many dances in Altura, he never danced but instead watched to see if she was worth catching! They continued dating while she attended the University of Minnesota where she studied home economics. After college graduation, she worked as a county home agent at the Waseca Extension Office until Roman returned home on furlough from the service. They were happily wed on January 7, 1956, a cold winter day. They made their home in California before returning to Altura, where Mary taught seventh and eighth grade at the grade school. The couple then moved to the Walch family farm where they settled in and raised their family.
Mary was a dedicated mother first and foremost and treasured her family. We fondly remember her warm hugs, words of encouragement, prayers, strong faith, and perseverance. She kept us well-fed with amazing cinnamon rolls and bread and shared her many talents including sewing clothes and quilts and making dolls. She was involved in many ventures over the years, never shy to roll up her sleeves, and loved to learn and grow. She was humbled to receive the Outstanding Woman of Land and Home award in 1989, preferring instead to place attention on helping meet the needs of others. Her mission was to bring a bit of sunshine to anyone she crossed paths with. She laughed often and loved to make others laugh. Mary fully trusted that God established her path in life and she never let grass grow under her feet until a stroke in 2007 limited her ability to get up and go. Even then she showed us how to embrace a challenge and make the most of it.
Grateful to have known her as Mom are her six children, Deborah (Sean) Malay, Sue Ellen (Scott) Ludford, James (Debonie Guenther) Walch, Jenifer (Blake) Luehmann, Michael (Michelle) Walch, and Lori (Michael) Reed. Blessed to have her in their life and know her warm love and silliness are her 19 grandchildren, Tyler, Dillon, Madison, Alexandra, Jessica, Jenna, Nina, Joe, Jill, Kayte, Megan, Sheldon, Mitchell, Miranda, Michael, Mason, Hunter, Gunner and Tanner; 17 great-grandchildren (with one more little blessing on his way); former daughter-in-law, Julie Fitzgerald; brother, Russell (Donna) Wirt; sisters-in-law, Katy (Dick) Kreutter and Rita (James) Suchomel; and brother-in-law, Don Simon.
She was preceded in death by her husband in 2013; parents; sister, Rebecca (Wirt) Walch; brothers-in-law, John Walch, Tom Walch, Harlan Kronebusch, and Jacque Roth; and sisters-in-law, Genevieve Roth, Mary Kronebusch, Joan Simon, Sr. Cabrini Walch, and Jane Roth.
Please join us in celebrating Mary’s life at a Mass of Christian Burial offered at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Winona. Mary will be laid to rest at Oak Ridge Cemetery, rural Altura, at a later date. Visitation will be held in the Commons of St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Thursday, October 24, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Mary made her home at Lake Winona Manor in 2007 following the stroke. She was grateful for the care, support, friendship and love of many of the LWM team throughout the years. Thank you for being a second family to her! In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to Lake Winona Manor, Winona Health.
Mary said that she had so many wonderful blessings in life that she sometimes lost count. Thank you to all who filled her life with blessings. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths,” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Mary’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.