Mary Edel Beyer, age 86, of Winona, passed away on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at St. Anne Extended Healthcare in Winona.
Mary was born on July 16, 1932, in Winona, to Edmund and Cecelia (Knopick) Edel. She married Argene Lester Beyer on June 7, 1958, at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Winona, and together they had four children, Jason Edel Beyer, Trudy Edel Beyer, Gerard Edel Beyer, and Jeremy Edel Beyer. For 37 years, the family owned and operated the Century Plus Dairy Farm near Utica, and Mary was proud that her son, Jeremy, continues the tradition to this day. Argene preceded her in death on August 13, 1985. Mary loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and took great pride in their many accomplishments.
Mary was a dedicated educator for many years, and always strove to improve her skills through personal life-long study and learning. In 1952, she graduated from Winona State University with a degree in elementary education, an additional Bachelor of Science degree in 1967, and she completed her Master of Science degree in 1978. Elementary education, social studies, and art were her main areas of concentration, in addition to earning 40 additional credits and studying abroad in England, Scotland, and Wales.
She taught kindergarten, first grade, and second grade in Dodge Center, Lewiston, Stockton, Minnesota City, and (her longest tenure for 27 years) Rollingstone for the Winona School District. The children of southeastern Minnesota were lucky to have Mary as their teacher because of her deep passion for learning and dedication to teaching. Her creativity and style helped to mold many young minds.
As an educator, Mary wore many hats. She wrote many articles for the School News, which appeared in the Winona Post; for 10 years she was a celebrity reader for Reading on the Mall; for 25 years she was active with the Winona District Reading Committee, and served as its past president; and she was a past president and vice-president of the Lewiston PTA. She also used her teaching skills in the community as a Girl Scout troop leader, Cub Scout den mother, Utica 4-H leader, 4-H Conference Judge at area county fairs, as well as many other community projects that involved youth.
Mary had a life-long passion for music and the arts. She began her entertaining style at a very young age. In 1938, she was on stage with Jake Voelker’s Square Dancers and never looked back. Mary kept crowds entertained as a tap dancer, ice show performer, as well as playing the piano, auto harp, organ, and accordion. Mary loved being on stage entertaining through singing and dancing. She entertained soldiers at Camp McCoy as a Spencer Cadet (a Winona USO group), receiving the commendation “Belle of the Blue Grass” from a Kentucky Colonel. Mary performed in “Sally Comes to Town,” and as Dolly in “Hello Dolly.” She also enjoyed singing with the Steamer City Sweet Adelines in Winona, Zumbro Valley in Rochester, the Hiawatha Valley Chorus of Rushford, and with the Fountain City Community Singers.
Mary was a dedicated member of the Winona community and took great pride in her years of service. She was active in many organizations including Winona Heritage Preservation Commission; Senior Center Activity Council; docent for Riverboat Tours on the Mississippi River; Lakeside Street Machines; Winona History Center volunteer; fourth-degree Knights of Columbus Lady; American Legion Auxiliary; Winona Athletic Club; Head Election Judge; Harvest House, where she served as co-president; and a member in good standing with the NRA. Mary was also named in Marquis Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.
Mary loved everything Polish and was able to travel to Poland six times. She was a life-long member of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka where she enjoyed singing with the adult and Polish choirs. She was an avid promoter of Winona’s Polish Heritage and was a member of the Polish Heritage Society; Polish Cultural Institute and Museum; and was a delegate and president of the Bytow, Poland Sister City Committee. She was also proud to have been kissed twice by the “Polish Prince,” Bobby Vinton.
She was known for creating beautiful works of art in oil and water colors, and her cards were always a big hit at the Polish Museum’s annual Smaczne Jablka Festival. Some of her other favorite hobbies included collecting dolls, photography, fashion modeling, playing the piano, and knitting. Mary also had the privilege of traveling extensively, and some of her favorite destinations included Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and Germany.
Mary will be missed by all those who knew and loved her.
Mary is lovingly survived by her children, Jason Edel (Debra Moe) Beyer, Winona, Trudy Edel (Mark) Lee, of Italy, Gerard Edel (Paula) Beyer, of Winona, and Jeremy Edel (Christine) Beyer, of Utica; grandchildren, Christopher Lee, Matthew Lee, and Alexander (Christie) Lee, Nicole Beyer, Joana Beyer, and Corey Beyer, and Ashley Beyer, Jennifer Beyer, and Nathanial Beyer; sister, Jane (Richard) Habeck, of Winona; great-grandchildren, Elijah and Rainslee Lee; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; grandson, Joey Beyer; and brother, Leon Edel.
A Harvest House Prayer Service and the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, 2018, at the Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home, with visitation following the Rosary until 7 p.m. Visitation will also be held at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka on Friday, November 2, 2018, from 11 a.m. until the Mass of Christian Burial at noon. The Very Reverend Patrick Arens will officiate. Mary will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
A memorial is being arranged to support the music ministry of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.
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.