Funeral services for Mary Jane Nielsen, 82, were conducted by Pastor Steven Frock on Monday, May 3, 2010, at 11a.m. at Brayton Lutheran Church in Brayton. Interment was in the Arlington Heights Cemetery in Audubon. Honorary casket bearers were: Mark Johnson, Mike Haley Sr., Darwin Warner and Earl Wiechman. The casket bearers were: Jeremy Best, Kirk Knudsen, Bruce Hoegh, Winston Hoegh, Terry Johnson, Larry Nelson and Andre Sampson. The Kessler Funeral Home in Exira was in charge of the arrangements.
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Mary Jane Nielsen, the daughter of Donald and Lila Wickham Hunt, was born Oct 10, 1927, at her parents' home in Gray, and died April 30, 2010, at the Exira Care Center in Exira, at the age of 82 years, 6 months, and 20 days.
Mary Jane was baptized and confirmed at the Ross Evangelical Church in Ross, in the fall of 1937. She attended Gray Community School and graduated from the Audubon High School with the Class of 1945. She then was employed at the Ben Franklin Store, the Audubon Bakery and the M&M Café in Audubon.
On Nov. 24, 1946, she was united in marriage to Russell W. Nielsen at her parents' home in Audubon. Two children, Susan and Ron were born to this union. They lived on and operated several different farms in and around Audubon County which included living south of Fiscus, near Bayard, Melville Township near Viola, and finally near Brayton. They raised livestock and grew row crops. She always had a large garden and grew strawberries. They retired from farming on Feb. 28, 1980 and moved to Atlantic. After moving to Atlantic she was employed at the Cass County Memorial Hospital and the Heritage House as a laundry supervisor, until she retired in 1994. They enjoyed their home in Atlantic, and then moved to the Exira Care Center in Exira in March of 2008.
Mary Jane became a member of the Audubon Methodist Church in 1942 and then later became a member of the Brayton Lutheran Church in the fall of 1974. She was a member of the Oak Hill Neighbor Club, The Brayton American Legion Auxiliary, and the Women of the ELCA. While in Atlantic, she was a member of the Prayer Concern Club.
Preceding her in death are her parents, her brother-in-law: Martin J. Nielsen; sisters-in-law: Margaret and husband Virgil Jaszarowski, and Wilma and husband Bill Kivett.
Survivors include her husband: Russell W. Nielsen of Exira, Iowa; her children: Susan and Ronnie Swinford of Conception Junction, Mo.; Ron and LuAnn Nielsen of West Des Moines; her grandchildren: David and Beth Swinford of Smithville, Mo.; Haley and Clete Silverthorn of Ankeny; Charles Swinford of Conception Junction, Mo.; Patrick and Becky Swinford of Barnard, Mo.; Lauri Nielsen and fiancé Stu Wessels both of Ames; Andrew Swinford of St. Joseph, Mo.; her great-grandchildren: Connor and Case Swinford of Smithville, Mo.; Madelyn, Mackenzie and Maggie Sue Swinford of Barnard, Mo.; Sadie and Colten Silverthorn of Ankeny; her sister Ruth and Burdette Hansen of Bonita, Calif., and sister-in-law Bertha Mae Nielsen of Audubon; many nieces, nephews other relatives and friends.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from May 7 to May 14, 2010