Page, Mary J. age 78, died Monday, October 21, 2013, in Olivia, Minnesota after a short battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family and friends, cared for by compassionate hospice professionals, and supported by an entire community network. Born December 29, 1934, in Egan, South Dakota, Mary was raised by the strong combination of a pastor and a high school principal where she learned the importance of being courageous in doing what is right and helping others in their journeys. After attending high school at Bethany Lutheran in Mankato, Minnesota, she attended Valparaiso University in Indiana where she majored in Social Work and Religion and became a Deaconess in the Lutheran church. While pursuing a goal of finishing college in three years, she met Jim Page during summer school at South Dakota State University, where he was finishing his pharmacy degree. They wed in 1957. In 1960, Jim and Mary were attracted to Olivia, Minnesota where a local drug store was for sale. Their imprint on the community has influenced and shaped the town for over 50 years. Mary's wide range of interests, skills, creativity, and willingness to challenge the status quo were brought to bear on more volunteer activities than can be tallied. They extended to the arts and theater, gardening, founding hospice care in the county, being active in the church and teaching confirmation, and volunteering as a guardian ad litem. In addition, her love of Christmas, for all things Swedish, and for building over-the-top floats for the annual Corn Capital Days parade are legendary. Her vision and clear and compelling support for rural Minnesota and for advocacy of health, education, and economic development led her to many leadership roles, including Mayor of Olivia, Renville County Commissioner, Regent of the University of Minnesota, and Chair of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Wise and loving, Mary shared her generosity and friendship with people of all ages. Her gestures of caring and support were extended freely. Given her open house approach, family and friends will remember visiting and often debating with her about topics ranging from ethanol to ditches to religion to rural physician recruitment to women's rights. Her energy, stick-to-it attitude, and passion were inspirational. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, John and Ruth Jungemann, by her brother, John Jungemann, and by her nephew, Chad Honzay. Surviving are her husband, Jim, and three children: Marcia (John Huepenbecker), Edina, MN; David (Staci), Sioux City, IA; Mark (Ann), Chanhassen, MN; and her eight grandchildren: Sarah, Kristen, and Laura Huepenbecker; Lauren, James, and Elizabeth Page; and Jennifer and Natalie Page. Also surviving is her sister, Ruth Honzay, and her sister- in-law, Jackie Jungemann, as well as several nieces and nephews. We all celebrate her unique combination of faith, passion and courage, strength and steadiness, humor and levity, caring and gratitude. Funeral services are Friday, October 25 at 11:00 a.m. at Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church in Olivia with Reverend Matthew Hausken officiating. Lunch will be served. Visitation is on Thursday, October 24 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the church with time for coffee, mingling, and a prayer service. Visitation continues Friday for one hour prior to the service. Arrangements are with Dirks-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia. Memorials have been established Dirks-Blem Funeral Service 320-523-1102 www.dirksblem.com
This obituary was originally published in the Star Tribune.