Mary Ann Kramer, age 87 of Lucan, passed away peacefully of natural causes unrelated to Covid-19 Monday, December 21, 2020 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls with her four daughters at her side and her four sons and their families present virtually.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, December 28, 2020 at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Lucan.  Socially-distanced visitation will be 4:00-7:00 p.m. Sunday, December 27 at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church with a prayer service at 6:00 p.m. and a Rosary service to follow.  The prayer service will be livestreamed on the church’s website.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at church.  Interment will be in the Our Lady of Victory Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Stephen Kramer (998 Linwood Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105) and will be dedicated to Catholic education. There will be a recording of the service and prayer service provided on the church’s YouTube page. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, GUESTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A MASK and practice social distancing guidelines. A 50% indoor occupancy restriction will be maintained.  Stephens Funeral Service – Redwood Valley Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Mary Ann was born February 7, 1933 in Madison, MN, the first child of Marie (Drobny) and Bernard “Chic” Siebenand, followed by Katherine (Kulas ), John Siebenand and Chuck Siebenand.  Catholic education was at the core of her life beginning with St. Michael’s grade school (Madison), followed by Good Counsel Academy (Mankato), and the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth).  She began her career in education in Lamberton and was a teacher with a gift for creativity and organization, who took great delight in inviting her students into the exciting and fulfilling world of learning—a blessing she passed on to her children. In 1958, she married Richard Kramer, who proudly called her “the love of my life,” and together they would have eight children in a marriage that lasted nearly 60 years: Michael (Jennifer Mendenhall–Henry, Vivian), Ann (Todd Weber–Luke, Drew, Isaac), Stephen (Marla–Emily, Marianna, Jack, Julia, Jennifer), Barbara (Steve Enderle–Hallie, Alyson), Mary (Chris Kieffer–Nicole, Kirsten, Ellen , Zachary), Daniel (Debra Prager), Susan (Chris Hindbaugh) and Paul (Amity–Elena, Calvin, Penelope). At Our Lady of Victory School in Lucan, she resumed her career in education as principal, teacher, director of the Christmas play and children’s choir, as well as “keeper of the keys and opener of the mail.” Mary Ann came from a long family line of female pioneers, including intrepid women who set off on horseback to homestead in Montana and teach in one-room schoolhouses.  That legacy and her formative experiences at all-girls Good Counsel and all-women St. Scholastica inspired her deep engagement with the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW).  Though she often preferred to work from behind the scenes and cede the spotlight to others, she never hesitated to step forward to answer the call to lead when asked.  She was chosen for numerous leadership positions, culminating in her role as President (1987-89) with an agenda that focused on empowering women as leaders.  In 2015, she was voted NCCW Woman of the Year in recognition of her life-long contributions to the organization and role as outstanding model of service to others. She continued to explore new frontiers and discovered later in life the joys of telling/enacting stories through the Red Hat Society–a group of talented women attired in their requisite purple clothes and red hats, who visited day-care centers, schools, libraries, and retirement homes, challenging themselves to do something new and share that gift with an audience. Even as her career as a teacher came to a close, she continued to pursue her passion for education and her love of learning by enrolling at the age of 85 in in-person and online courses at Southwest Minnesota State. She was devoted to her family and grandchildren, staying in touch with them through cards and phone calls, and welcoming new technologies, and responding with thoughtful comments and sage advice. And above all, Mary Ann cherished the opportunity to bring her family together twice a year for Kramer Christmas in Lucan and Kramer Kamp at Lake Ida.

In this last year, as COVID-19 curtailed so many social interactions, her life-long comfort with silence served her well.  It may have stemmed from being a child of the Depression, or her love of reading, or having raised 8 children in a 3-bedroom house, but stillness was something she embraced. When confronted by life’s many twists, quirks, and hardships, Mary Ann often found in silence discernment, discovery, and decision.  A verse from Luke’s Gospel comes readily to mind as we celebrate her life: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  That was the Mary Ann who was teacher, leader, wife, and mother.