Hackert, Mary Ann


Mary Ann was born in 1928. Her mother Laura Hollmer and father Harrison Sturges farmed in Minnesota. In her early years she knew poverty and hunger, but she was driven by a curiosity to know the world and learn.  This drive launched her at fourteen to pack up her few things, get on a bus and move to Chicago where she put herself through high school attending and paying her own tuition at The Academy of Our Lady.  She earned her high school diploma working late nights to pay her way.  Her early years shaped her worldview and Mary Annís compassion and care for others along with her strong faith were an inspiration to others. 

You canít think about Mary Ann without thinking about Ralph, her husband of 55 years.  Although he died on September 28 in 2005, he lived always in her heart and soul. Their first date was a disaster. Ralphís car broke down and he was late to the point where the second date almost didnít happen until she got a letter with his heartfelt apologies and Mary Ann knew he was the one. 

Ralph and Mary Ann were married on December 26, 1949. in Bemidji, Minnesota.  Their daughter Elizabeth joined them in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  The family next moved to Knoxville, Iowa where Ralph worked for the Veteranís Administration and their youngest daughter, Ann, was born.  After a trip to the Black Hill in South Dakota, Ralph was hired by the VA at Fort Meade. Ralph, Mary Ann and their daughters traveled the United States and the Black Hills, becoming experienced campers and hikers.  In later years, Ralph and Mary Ann were avid Volksmarchers logging many miles throughout the United States, coming only two states short of their goal to Volksmarch in all 50 states.  Mary Ann remained a proponent of Volksmarching, raising interest every chance she got and converting many to the sport.

Although she could not continue her education, Mary Ann was a pivotal influence on her daughters who were encouraged to go to college and pursue higher education.  Elizabeth was a food scientist who eventually earned an MBA.  Ann finished college with two majors and two minors and earned a Ph.D. in Economics.  Education launched Mary Ann on her life adventure and her encouragement and support launched her daughters. 

Mary Ann moved to Lincoln, Nebraska after many years in Sturgis, South Dakota to be closer to her daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy) Howe, whose strength and support helped the transition to a new chapter in her life.  Mary Ann will be missed by her brother, Bill Sturges of Woodstock, Minnesota, her sisters Sally Sturges of Sioux City, Iowa, and Virginia Asbury of Wichita Falls, Texas.  She is preceded in death by her husband Ralph and her sisters, Millie Pistuka, Springfield, Minnesota, Suzie Sturges Lincoln, Nebraska, and her brother Tom Sturges, Carson City, Nevada. Mary Ann spent time with the son and daughter-in-law of her sister Suzie, Bob and Lisa Sturges, who helped make Lincoln, Nebraska home. 

Mary Ann is survived by daughter Elizabeth Howe and her children and grandchildren: Lara Wooley of Centennial, Colorado, and children Terrell and Taye; Alan Gertonson of Amarillo, Texas, his wife Jennifer, and their children Chance & Sarah Daily, Alec Nichols, Aaron and Ashley Gertonson; Rob Howe of Aurora, Colorado; Amanda Howe of Arvada, Colorado; Berni Kappel of Manhattan, Kansas, and children Bailey, Jacob and Katelyn; Karoline Neill and her husband James of Sturgis, South Dakota, and children Brody, Kiran, Maira ,Cole and Aivln:   Amanda (Gerty) Wyatt and her husband Jared of Grant, Nebraska, and children Ana, Aiden, and Karlie; and Dr. Peter Gertonson and his wife Katie of Honolulu, Hawaii and their son, Karl. Mary Ann is also survived by her youngest daughter, Ann Hackert of Pocatello Idaho, her husband, Hal Hellwig and grandchildren Ben and David. 

As per Mary Ann's wishes, she will have services both for her friends in Lincoln and in Sturgis.  Her Celebration of Life in Lincoln, Nebraska is on April 8 at 10am at Butherus, Maser and Love Funeral Home, 40th & A.  Her long-time life in Sturgis will be memorialized with a wake at 7 p.m. on May 24 at Kincaid Funeral Home and a Mass at 10am on Friday May 26 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church with interment to follow in the Black Hills National Cemetery with her beloved Ralph.

Per Mary Annís request, in lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Mary Ann Hackert Memorial Fund, to be divided among the five charities she selected.

Guestbook for Hackert, Mary Ann

1:58PM Apr 4th, 2017
It was a joy for me to care for and know Mary Ann as a dear friend. I miss her.
Kathleen Rogge (Lincoln , NE)

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