Mary Ann Popowski-Olson, age 92, of Redwood Falls died Thursday, September 2, 2021 at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 from St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Redwood Falls with burial to follow in St. Mathias Catholic Cemetery, Wanda. Visitation will be held Tuesday, September 7, 2021, from 4 until 7 p.m., with parish prayer service with rosary to follow at 7 p.m., all at the church in Redwood Falls. Visitation will continue on Wednesday at the church from 10 until 11 a.m.  Arrangements are with Nelson-Hillestad Funeral Service of Redwood Falls and Morgan.

God’s plan for Mary started 92 years ago and now has been fulfilled. And in those 92 years Mary O has touched so many lives and helped make all of us such better people. So, let us tell you how her story began.  She was born in Hendricks, MN on January 21, 1929 to Eloise Popowski and Bertha Muchlinski, (anyone who knew her knew she was 21 on the 21st.) She was raised in Balaton, MN and was a Balaton “Warrior” and graduated as the Valedictorian of the Class of 1947. From there Mary advanced her dreams and attended Mankato State University where she received her Teaching Degree. In true Mary O fashion, she wasted no time in securing a position in Ivanhoe, MN as a teacher. From there her career took her to Wanda, MN which is where she met her lifelong partner, Jr. Olson.  Jr. and Mary made their home in the Wanda area and during that time they were blessed with two daughters, Debra and Christine who have fond memories of thoughtfully planned holidays and frequent get togethers that had her special touch. Their mother was not afraid to wear a coconut bra and grass skirts to join in the fun. They enjoyed being a part of her many crazy adventures. One knew not to call between 6:30-7 pm as that was Wheel Time.  Mary continued to share her gifts and talents with her students as she moved into the Lamberton, Sanborn, Springfield, and Wabasso School Districts. When Mary retired, she never lost any of her zest for teaching, so she continued on as a Para working one on one with many students and enriching their lives.  Upon her 2nd retirement, Mary opened new doors and those doors opened to travel. She was always ready to pick up, pack a bag and go and be a part of anyone’s adventure. Mary’s final adventure came way too soon, but her family is comforted by knowing Mary was ready to go to start the next adventure of her life with people that she knew and loved greatly.

Mary is survived by her daughter Debra and Monte Yeo of Minneota, Chris Ann and Mike Frank of Wabasso; Grandchildren Christopher and Melissa Grimmer, Chessie Yeo, Abbie Yeo and Kyle Noyes, James and Justine Frank, Brian and Pace Frank; and Great Grandchildren, Mallory and Morgan Grimmer, Willow and Viven Yeo, Teddy and Kellen Noyes, Kynlee, Keaton, and Lane Frank. Also surviving are her siblings Dave and Sharon Popowski of Mankato, Joan and Dennis Devine of Ridgecrest, CA, and Patrick and Nancy Jo of Watertown, SD as well as many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Jr., sisters Gwen Weaver, Dolores Eischens, and Dorothy Wing.

Mary’s mantra was “There never was a child that couldn’t be reached”. Her legacy will continue on through the students she taught over the years as well as the many friends she made and the lives she touched.