Siebenaler, Mary Jo
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Mary Jo Siebenaler, age 57, St. Louis Park, Minn., passed away after a courageous five year battle with ovarian cancer on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, at North Memorial Residential Hospice Brooklyn Center, Minn., surrounded in love by her husband, Steven Kirkhorn, and immediate family members.
Mary Jo was born on Aug. 23, 1955 in Sheboygan, Wis., to Floyd and Elizabeth (nee Kurtz). She graduated from Sheboygan South High School in 1973 and received her RN BSN from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She subsequently received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Occupational Nursing Program in 1992, where she received the Herbert M. Bosch Award as the student who best exemplified kindness and regard for humanity. Over the years, her clinical work in nursing included diverse positions as a public health nurse in West Allis, Wis., camp nurse in Vail, Colo,, school nurse in Soldotna, Alaska, and clinic nursing in a low-income neighborhood clinic in Anchorage, Alaska. She later worked in risk assessment and occupational health marketing in the Twin Cities, and as an adjunct faculty member in community nursing at Minnesota State University-Mankato School of Nursing.
Mary Jo loved sports and physical activities including tennis, kayaking, golf, cross-country skiing, and backpacking. She was captain of her USTA tennis team in Mankato Minn., leading them to the national tournament in 2002. In more recent years in Marshfield Wis., she touched people's lives as an inspirational NIA dance instructor at First Presbyterian Church.
Community service was an important part of Mary Jo's life. She served as Deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Marshfield, New Visions Art Gallery board member, President of the Marshfield Tennis Association as well as numerous committees in other communities she lived in.
The highlight and most rewarding point in Mary Jo' s life was the adoption of her son, Michael from Guatemala in 1997. She was active with his Cub Scout pack and supported his Boy Scout and school activities through the years. She also loved to encourage his adventurous spirit through travel. She traveled with Michael and Steve around the United States as well as to several countries in the Caribbean and Central America. In 2007, they experienced a very rewarding trip when they returned to Michael's birthplace in Guatemala with other adoptive families.
In addition to her husband and son, Mary Jo is survived by stepdaughters, Marta and Leah Kirkhorn, grandson, Dillon McKenzie, mother, Elizabeth Siebenaler, sister, Jean Burba (Michael), brother, Jeff Siebenaler (Dina), and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, Floyd.
Mary Jo will always be remembered for her generous spirit and love of life, family, and friends. A Memorial Service to celebrate her life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday Feb. 9, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. at McReavy-Washburn Edina Chapel, 5000 West 50th St., Edina, Minn. An additional memorial service will be held at a later date in Marshfield, Wis. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance to an account that has been set up in her name (http://MaryJo.kintera.org). It has been specified that this will go to research at organizations working to improve early ovarian cancer detection and comprehensive support after diagnosis.
Published in the Marshfield News Herald on Feb. 7, 2013