Mary Jane Manke
- July 13, 1921 - May 19, 2012
- Gregory, South Dakota
of Mary's Passing
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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Mary by adding your memories and photos.
Arrangements made by
Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
Memories & CandlesPrevious
“To Don, Bev and family. I am so sorry for your loss! I knew your mother from delivering gas to your farm and going to school with Don. May God rest...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Ron Nikodym - Shawnee, KS
“We are sorry to hear of Mary's passing! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all! Rest in peace Mary xoxo the bakers
2 of 9 | Posted by: Tonya & Larry Baker - Cheyenne, WY
“Larry and family...Sorry to hear about your mother and didn't really know how close our families were until I was reading the obituary. Now we just...Read More »
3 of 9 | Posted by: Vicki Saathoff Dixon - pierre, SD
“Our sympathy to you and your families Love and hugs Willie and Patti
4 of 9 | Posted by: Pat Rust - Spencer, NE
“To all the Keegan clan & Rhonda & Tom...
Wishing you peace at this time. What an inspiration Mary was who asked for so little but was cared for so...Read More »
5 of 9 | Posted by: Carol Postulka - Pierre, SD
“I wll always remember my Aunt Silky's big smile and bubbly personality. I didn't get to see her very much since I live in Texas but it was always...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Kathy Oldham Gould - Houston, TX
“Larry, Betty,Bev, Don,and Sandy,
I have many wonderful memories of staying at your house with Sandy. Your mother was such a good cook. What a...Read More »
7 of 9 | Posted by: Alice Miner - Gregory, SD
“We are sorry for your loss Bev and Jim. Your time with her will always be cherished by you.
9 of 9 | Posted by: David and Judy Drey - Hartford, SD
Mary Jane Manke was born on July 13, 1921 to Edward and Rose (Nemec) Vosika on the family farm near Burke, SD. She joined sisters Helen and Minnie. She was so small that she could fit into a shoebox. Later, brother George, and sisters Katherine Rose, Doloris, and Betty completed the family. The family was greatly saddened when Katharine died from a heart condition at the age of 9. This was a very close, loving and hardworking family. Mary attended the Holmes country school that was near her home. Her family lovingly referred to her as "Silky" because of her pretty strawberry blond hair. Mary was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith. She was a life long member of the St. John Lutheran Church in Gregory and the Lutheran Women's Missionary League.
At the age of 18, Mary worked for the National Youth Administration (NYA) in White Lake, SD. This was the women's version of the 1930's WPA (Works Project Administration) that was part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. She met William "Bill" Manke, the love of her life, at a dance, and they continued dancing for many years. They were married on October 20, 1942 at Butte, NE. Their attendants were Melvin and Helen Vosika. After a year of marriage, Bill and Mary purchased a farm south of Gregory. It was on this farm that they raised their five children: Larry, Betty, Beverley, Donald, and Sandy. Bill and Mary were a very devoted and loving couple. They worked side by side raising cattle, crops and milking cows. Even though it was hard work, they found great joy in their farm life. However, they always took time to sit and visit every morning while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Mary was a very warm, loving, and generous person. It was nearly impossible to leave her house without a cup of coffee and something to eat. The table would just fill up with all kinds of good food when guests would arrive. She had a knack of being able to create a feast. Kolaches, round steak, chocolate chip cookies, apple rolls, fried chicken, apple pie, and cinnamon rolls were just a few of the wonderful things she cooked.
If she could get you into a "mean" game of pitch or Old Maid, you better be prepared for squeals and giggles if she beat you. She loved her daily visits on the phone with her family and friends. She was a superb gardener. Her gardens would produce unbelievable amounts. Being able to give her prized tomatoes, cucumbers or potatoes away to family and friends, gave her such great joy. You always had to go to see the garden as soon as you came for a visit. She would can many of her garden goods, but she was especially noted for her dill and watermelon pickles.
Her love for her family and friends was evident by her thoughtfulness. She never forgot a birthday or special occasion. You could always count on a card with some money in it from her. She had a way of just making people feel like they were very special. She never put herself first.
Mary lost Bill on March 17, 1999 after nearly 57 years together. She continued to live on the farm. On March 25, 2005 she suffered a severe, debilitating stroke. She spent one year in the Winner Nursing Home and the remainder of her days at the Avera Rosebud Country Care Center in Gregory. Her extraordinary strength and the love of her family allowed her to live 7 additional years to reach the age of 90 years , 10 months, and 6 days. She passed away early in the morning on May 19, 2012 in the arms of her loving family.
Mary is survived by her children: Larry of Pierre, SD; Betty (Paul) Vaughn of Gregory, SD; Beverley (Jim) Keegan of Gregory, SD; Donald of Gregory, SD; and Sandy (Gene) Baker of O'Neill, NE. Grandchildren: Rhonda (Tom) Waterbury, Jay Keegan, Justin (Jennifer) Keegan, Chauncey Keegan, Jessica Baker, William (Mary) Baker, Randy Baker, LeMars Manke, and LaVonne Smith. Step grandchildren: Kerry Odenbach and Carmen Cox. Great grandchildren: Cory and Chantel Manke, Brittany, Garrett, and Kyra Keegan, Kylie and Kaiden Smith Step great grandchildren: Chase Smith and Shawndraya Cox. And great great grandchild Aurora Roper. Sisters: Doloris Oldham, Betty (Jonas) Bruntz and Marvelyn Manke. And by several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, her parents, Edward and Rose Vosika, Sisters Helen Umberger, Minnie Stuckers, Katharine Rose Vosika, brother, George Vosika.
Mary lived an honorable life. She was a devout Christian. She believed in hard work and she paid her own way until the end. She was a wonderful, kind, and fun lady with a smile that could light up a room. She was a loving mother and grandmother. She will be greatly missed.
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Funeral services for Mary Jane Manke were held on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at the St. John Lutheran Church in Gregory with Pastor Jared Nies officiating. A prayer service was held Thursday evening, May 24, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the church.
Music was provided by Geoff Smith, soloist, singing "Precious Lord Take My Hand," "When We All Get to Heaven," and "In the Garden" accompanied by Leanne Sinclair, pianist. Congregational songs were "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art."
Connie Sue, Carolyn Erickson, and Joni Johnson were in charge of registration. Flower attendants were Jennifer Keegan, Brittany Keegan, Kyra Keegan, and Kylie Smith.
Casket bearers were Cory Manke, Chantel Manke, Rhonda Waterbury, Tom Waterbury, Jay Keegan, Justin Keegan, Chancey Keegan, Jessica Baker, William Baker, Randy Baker, Lemars Manke, Lavonne Smith, Garrett Keegan, and Kaiden Smith.
Honored pallbearers were John Bruntz, Lloyd Hansen, Robert Travnicek, Don Kaiser, Jack Clark, Kenneth Wendell, Curt Vakiner, Roland Bender, Roy Stevicks Sr., Fred Laprath, Tom Laprath, Hans Laprath, Bill Laprath, Joey Belak, Wayne Lapour, and Dale Stuckers.
Interment was in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Gregory, SD.