Mary Ann Walker, 1965

MARY ANN WALKER, 69, passed away peacefully Monday, March 26, 2012 at home surrounded by her family following a courageous battle with cancer. Cremation rites have been accorded. Mary Ann was born the daughter of Marge (Wilson) and Edwin Walker on March 6, 1943 in Mason City, Iowa. She graduated from Clear Lake High School. She attended Luther and received a B.A. from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Iowa State University in Ames. Mary Ann held various positions with the Department of Human Services (DHS) until her retirement in 2000. She was a Public Welfare Worker and a Homemaker Supervisor in Cerro Gordo County, a County Director in Hancock County, a Benefit Payment Supervisor and a Family and Children and Adult Service Specialist in the Mason City District, a District Administrator in the Fort Dodge District, and the Bureau Chief of Policy Administration and Rules Administrator in Central Office in Des Moines. Following her retirement from DHS Mary Ann went to work for H&R Block as an Administrative Assistant and Tax Preparer where she worked until she became ill. She had just completed her Enrolled Agent Certification to represent clients before the IRS. Mary Ann was a member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Urbandale. She also had many hobbies which she enjoyed, including counted cross stitch, stained glass, machine embroidery, making porcelain dolls and creating animals from old fur coats, quilting, computer applications, gardening, canning and baking and an interest in genealogy. She was the Queen Mother for the Red Bonnet Biddies red hat group. Mary Ann truly had the heart of a servant. Those privileged to have lives meshed with hers were blessed and strengthened, as was she. She was respected, admired, and loved for her compassion, kindness, generosity, home cooked delicacies, intelligence and occasionally warped sense of humor. For those who did not know Mary Ann, a hundred descriptive words are inadequate. For those who did, no words are necessary. Mary Ann is survived by her wife, Ruth Schlesinger. Mary Ann and Ruth were together for over 30 years and were very happy to be able to join in marriage following the change in Iowa law. Mary Ann is also survived by her sister, Susan (Gary) Gerdes of Mason City, sister-in-law, Anita Walker of Mason City, mother-in-law, Polly Smith of Fort Dodge, father-in-law, Dave (Dena) Schlesinger of Fort Dodge, brother-in-law Mike (Julie) Schlesinger of Marshalltown, sister-in-law Judy (Bruce) Van Alstine of Eagle Grove, sister-in-law Carol (Terry) Pingel of Fort Dodge, sister-in-law Lynne Schlesinger of Fort Dodge. Also surviving are nieces and nephews and their families, Greg (Christine) Gerdes, of Fairfax, Doug (Michelle) Gerdes, Ned Walker, and Heather Walker of Mason City, Polly (Wayne) Dusek, of Roberts, Wisconsin, Emmy (John) Swisher, of Belmond, Ashley (Jarek) Van Alstine Vetter, of Hartley, Lucas (Autumn) Pingel of Minneapolis, T.J. Pingel and Samantha Pingel, of Fort Dodge, Andy (Dawn) Schlesinger, of Cedar Rapids and Sara (Erik) Schlesinger-Whitaker of Iowa City. Also special friends and neighbors, Jaymie and Chelsi Roberts, Shane Bruse, Connie Partlow, Ron and Laurie Polle, and Joe and Amy Stein. Last but not least, her four-footed boy Sammy, the basset hound. Mary Ann was preceded in death by her parents, and a brother, Ned Walker. Five of her four-pawed children await her. A memorial gathering was held at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 3510 72nd St, Urbandale, Iowa, March 30, with memorial service at the church on March 31. Burial was at Clear Lake Memorial Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Hospice of Central Iowa or Animal Lifeline.