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Mary Sukowatey Thoen, 92

Mary Sukowatey Thoen, age 92, passed away peacefully at the River Falls Lutheran Home on Oct. 1. She was surrounded by her loving family.

Mary Elizabeth Dohm was born on Nov. 27, 1919, in Cross Plains, Wis., to John and Lena (Wipperfurth) Dohm. She was born the fifth of eight children. She learned the value of working hard on the family farm and lived there until she met William "Wild Bill" Sukowatey. They were married on June 22, 1939, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Cross Plains. Mary and Bill moved to the Spring Valley/Ellsworth area, where they began their family, and in the late 1940s, they moved to a 40-acre farm outside of River Falls, Wis. They worked the farm along with father-in-law Max Sukowatey Sr. Their brood of children grew to nine, and all were raised on that family farm. In 1965, they moved into the town of River Falls. Bill passed away from a heart attack on May 16, 1971. They were married for 32 years.

Mary married Floyd Thoen on May 16, 1981, and moved to Roberts, Wis. They set up a home that was full of love and where everyone was welcome. He treated Mary's children/grandchildren like his own, and they treated him like he was their father/grandfather. Floyd passed away on Sept. 27, 2002. They were married for 21 years. She moved back to River Falls and lived at Windmill Place. Her last place of residence was the Lutheran Home, where she received excellent care.

Mary loved the Lord, and she set a beautiful Christian example for all of her family. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that she dearly loved them. She lived life simply and always put her family and friends ahead of herself. Her blessings in life came from giving, sharing, and being available for those who needed a helping hand. She lived courageously with the conviction to always try to do the right thing and to love one another.

Next to her heart, the kitchen was always the warmest place in the house. Mary was a wonderful cook, and no one ever left her place hungry. Her apple pie, refrigerator pickles, dill pickles, and countless other dishes will "live on" through her family and friends. Just a few days before she passed, she was still explaining how she made her dill pickles...the best ever! She had a garden for over 80 years and shared the bounty with her family, friends and even strangers. Her pantry was always full with vegetables and fruit that she had preserved.

She loved playing cards, Bingo, and doing jigsaw puzzles with her friends at Windmill Place and the Lutheran Home. But her favorite activity was dancing! Both of her husbands, Bill and Floyd, loved to dance as well, so that made for enjoyable evenings out together and with friends. Even up until the very end of her life on earth, if a polka came on, she was tapping her toe and bouncing her shoulders!

She was a member of St. Bridget Catholic Church and the Catholic Guild for several decades and gave hundreds of hours of service to the church and community. She also belonged to the Women of the Moose and three local card clubs. To support her family, she worked tirelessly for over 25 years at Hudson Manufacturing in Hastings, Minn., and retired from there in the mid-1980s.

For her whole life and even in her final days, Mary never wanted to be a burden to anyone. She was saddened by seeing so many of her family and friends go before her, but she still remained optimistic and hung on to her faith. Her descendants total nearly 100, with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. She has left her humble and loving mark on many, and she will carry on through them for generations to come.

To our beloved Mary, the Lord will say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Now enter into your eternal rest." So she took off her heavy chains, wiped away all the pain and said, "I am redeemed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!"

She was preceded in death by parents, John and Lena Dohm; husbands, William Sukowatey and Floyd Thoen; children Lawrence Sukowatey and Jean Volkmann; great-grandchildren Ashley Barron and Tara Grant; brothers, John, Frank, Ray, George, and Lawrence Dohm, and sister Dorothy Mess; father-in-law, Max Sukowatey Sr.; and numerous brothers and sisters-in-law.

She is survived by sister Alice (Dohm) Bohn; brother-in-law Edward Sukowatey; sister-in-law Carol (Webster) Sukowatey; children, Marge (Jim) Filkins, Barb Sukowatey (friend Hank Smith), son-in-law Fred Volkmann, Bette Stern, Joanne (Mike) Matteson, Gary (Nancy) Sukowatey, Joe (Roxy) Sukowatey, Diane (Denny) Philabaum; stepchildren, Marilyn (Jeffrey) Hilton, Randy (Nancy) Thoen, Kevin (Sally) Thoen; grandchildren and spouses, Lisa (Gordy) Grant, Louie (Patti) Filkins, Pam Langer, Scott (Dawn) Langer, Jay (Becky) Langer, Val (Steve) Bjerstedt, John Volkmann, Stephanie (Chris) Keicker, David (Donna) Volkmann, Shelly Stern, Tom (Michelle) Stern, Joel (Gail) Larson, Jodi (Arch) Hasler, Laura (friend Isaac Webb), Billy, Annie, Michael, and Danny Sukowatey, Nicky (Rod) Thompson, Matt Sukowatey (friend Jamie Bauer), Bryce (Melanie) Hopp, Jason (Tristy) Hopp; step-grandchildren, Stacy Hilton, Sheree (Brad) Schwartz, Stephanie (Joe) Turner, Jason (Lynn) Thoen, Juli (Jason) Anderson, Josh Thoen, Candi (Steve) Phernetton, Bryan (Holly) Thoen, Kris Thoen, Brad (Anne) Philabaum, Sherie Philabaum, Missy (Mike) Cook, Greg Philabaum; great-grandchildren, Danielle, Sam, Gina, Christie, and Greg, Daniel, Kayla, Gabrielle, Hannah, Ryan, LeeAnn, Erika, Kara, Tanner, Samantha, Ellison, Emma, Andy, Maria, and Matt, Rachel, Sarah, Daniel, Kyli, Nick, Tegan, Zachary, Ashley, Megan, Wyatt, Alissa, Kaitlyn, Travis, Tom, Trey, Jenika; step-great-grandchildren, Kelsey, Elisa, Brenna, Owen, Blake, Abby, Katie, Maggie, Wyatt, Keyona, Brody, Brayden, Wyatt; great-great-grandchild, Brendan; former sons-in-law Leo Langer, Jim Larson, Jack Stern, Bruce Hopp; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and special friends.

The funeral was performed at St. Bridget Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Oct. 6. Visitation was held from 10-11 a.m. Mary is buried at the St. Bridget's Catholic Cemetery in River Falls. Pallbearers were Louie Filkins, Scott Langer, David Volkmann, Tom Stern, Joel Larson, Bill Sukowatey, Bryce Hopp, and Matt Sukowatey. Honorary pallbearers were Jon Volkman, Jay Langer, Jason Hopp, Michael Sukowatey, and Daniel Sukowatey.