Mary Jane VanDerGeest, age 93, of Merrill, passed away on Sunday, November 5, 2017.
Mary Jane was born December 16, 1923, in Antigo, daughter of the late Chester and Rosalie (Marlow) Nelson. After graduating from high school, Mary Jane worked at the former Holy Cross Hospital, Merrill, where she met the love of her life, Richard VanDerGeest. They were married on January 1, 1947. The marriage ended with Rich’s death on January 17, 1999. Mary Jane and Rich purchased ‘Van’s Meat Market’ from Rich’s father, Joe VanDerGeest, and together they operated the business until selling it. Thereafter, the couple opened ‘Rich’s Discount Store’, and operated the business until Rich’s passing. Mary Jane was an active member of St. Stephens United Church of Christ, Merrill. Mary Jane was the first women to serve on the church council. She sang in the choir, was a former president of the Dorcas Society, was a member of the church’s blood donor group at the hospital, and participated in the prayer chain. Mary Jane received the ‘Faith Award’ from St. Stephens. Mary Jane was also a member of the ‘Red Hatter’s’. “I‘ve had a good life and I thank God every day that I lived. Take care. Live life with love, always!” Mary Jane.
Mary Jane is survived by two daughters, Julia (Warren) Anderson, Merrill, and Ann (Armin) Fenske, New London; three sons, Robert (Susan) VanDerGeest, Thomas (Kathleen) VanDerGeest, and David (Patti) VanDerGeest, all of Merrill; and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Besides her parents and husband, Mary Jane is preceded in death by a son, James VanDerGeest; two grandchildren, Craig and Heather VanDerGeest; and two siblings, Burdette Kobs and Ivan Nelson.
Family and friends may gather at the Taylor-Stine Funeral Home from 10:00 AM until 12 Noon on Friday, November 10, 2017. Burial of her cremated remains will take place in the spring of 2018 in Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery. The Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Merrill, is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made at www.taylorstinefuneralhome.com.
The VanDerGeest Family requests that memorials be directed to the Lincoln County Humane Society.