June 27, 2023 at 2:40 p.m.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 1, at Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Albany for Mary Ann Mitchell, 88, who passed away June 20, 2023, at home on her beloved farm in Albany, surrounded by family, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Burial will follow at Seven Dolors Cemetery. The family will greet friends starting at 9 a.m. at Seven Dolors’ gathering space, before the funeral.
Born in St. Cloud Nov. 12, 1934, to Leonard and Eleanor Sauer, Mary grew up in a loving and lively home as the third oldest in a family of eight siblings. She would tell wonderful stories of the adventures she had growing up in St. Cloud where she attended Cathedral High School and St. Cloud School of Nursing to become a registered nurse.
Mary met Emmett “Pete” Mitchell in Minneapolis in 1956. She took a leap of faith after a short courtship to join him on a new adventure in West Covina, California, where they wed and built a life together. Mary and Pete had seven children in California and created a household on Greenberry Drive that served as a second home for their extended family, children’s friends, neighbors and many animals. She was a calm and patient presence in the middle of it all. Mary continued to work full time as a nurse while raising her kids. Her ability to mother her own children and others, provide amazing nursing care and always find time for vacuuming was astounding.
Although her life in California was fulfilling, Mary continued to hold the hope of returning to her beloved Minnesota. Taking another leap of faith, Mary and Pete purchased a hobby farm in Albany after Pete’s retirement. Mary and Pete loved their farm where they gardened, raised animals, hosted family and learned about farming through much trial and error. In Albany, Mary returned to her true passion: nursing. She worked as a nurse at the Albany Hospital for decades, retiring from nursing at age 63 but continuing to work in the nursing float pool until age 75. She loved her work at Albany Hospital where she gave the doctors a hard time, bantered about politics and provided exceptional care to her patients.
Mary was a member of Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Albany and lived her life by the teachings of Christ: love, generosity, simplicity, self-sacrifice and acceptance.
After Mary’s great love, Pete, died of cancer, Mary rebuilt her life in the wake of her sorrow, continuing to work, travel with her family, support her kids’ and grandkids’ activities, grow beautiful flowers, tend to her farm and, most importantly, serve as grandmother extraordinaire to her many grandchildren. She was always there with an ice cream sandwich, a little ditty (What was that song she always hummed?), a comment about their hair and a no-nonsense and accurate suggestion that they would be “just fine.” Mary’s nurturing was reciprocated in her later years when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her family and friends rallied around her to provide her with the love and care she showed so many others.
Left to honor and remember her love are Mary’s children, Peter Mitchell, Cathy (John Greer) Mitchell, David (Barbara) Mitchell, Jane (Mark) Spohn, Laura (Steve) Stumvoll, Paula (Jamie) van der Hagen and Luke (Lisa) Mitchell; 20 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; siblings John (Margie) Sauer, David (Joyce) Sauer, Kay (Ronald) Brown, Owen (Beverly) Sauer and Rita (Richard) Tester; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Emmett “Pete” Mitchell; her parents Leonard and Eleanor; siblings Jerry, Patricia and Charles; granddaughter Mary; and daughters-in-law Charleen and Melissa.
The Mitchell family would like to extend its gratitude to our sister, Cathy, for being a dedicated caregiver for Mom throughout her illness, to Pat Luethmers for her special care of our mother and to Albany Clinic and CentraCare Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Mary’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Arrangements were made by Miller-Carlin Funeral Homes in Albany.