Mary Ann (Allmaras) Birkeland, 79, New Rockford, passed away Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at her daughter's home near Pelican Rapids, Minn. Her cancer returned in a blink! With the heartbreaking news, Mary Ann's family surrounded her with love, comfort and care until her final breath.
Mary Ann Allmaras was born Jan. 8, 1934, in New Rockford, the daughter of Louis and Ann (Clavin) Allmaras. She went to school at St. James Academy and graduated from New Rockford Central High School in 1951. She attended Wahpeton State School of Science for nursing.
On Aug. 14, 1954, she married Myron Birkeland and they had nine children. Mary Ann was a lifetime member of St. John's Parish, where she taught CCD and belonged to St. Anne's Circle.
Mary Ann loved her jobs and her co-workers! She worked at the New Rockford Hospital, Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd, The Frost Mill, The Dairy Queen, East Central as a teacher's aide, Esquire, 4th Corporation and Dr. Belquist's Dental Office.
Her No. 1 job was being a Mom and a Grandma to others besides her "own." It was absolutely the highlight of her life! She went above and beyond gallivanting from activity to activity rarely missing a beat! She loved parades, costumes, sing-alongs, holidays, making cookie/candy bouquets, baking, cooking, knitting, reading, attending sporting events, being at Lake Lida and most importantly she loved chocolate!
Mary Ann's "one and only" sibling was her best friend, Carol Joyce "CJ" Bass. They were known as the "bookends." They spent countless hours together and a feisty game of Yahtzee was a given!
Mary Ann generously opened her heart and home to numerous neighborhood kids, foster children and foreign exchange students. She was a "light" in many lives and enjoyed her family to the fullest! With her immediate, extended and adopted families she shared her warmth, cheer, faith and grace what a testimony to a life well lived.
There will be a huge void in the lives of: her husband, Myron, New Rockford, and her children: Ann Guler (late Tim), Pelican Rapids, Minn., Mike (Carol), Tempe, Ariz., Tom, Tempe, Ariz., Terry (Sherri), Bemidji, Minn., Bob (Angela), Pinetop, Ariz., Buffy Medalen (Scott), Minot, N.D., and Timmy (Penny), Perham, Minn.
Mary Ann provided an abundance of kindness and cuddles, humor and fun, cookies and candy, but most importantly hugs and kisses and lots of love to her 24 grandkids: Eric, Amanda, Gretchen, Nate, Brian, Kristopher, Coltlee, Jonathan, Jacque, Stephanie, Gabriela, Bryce, Marikah, Emily, Mitch, Mark, Elle, Drew, Liz, Jack, Maddie, Rachael, Timmy, Megan, Mamie, Becca, Wyatt and Baby Sophie.
Mary Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Louie and Ann Allmaras; infant daughter, Susan, daughter, Mary Elizabeth "Betsy" Rodiles and son-in-law Tim Guler.
Mary Ann was under the loving care of Roger Maris Cancer Center and Hospice of the Red River Valley. Donations may be made in memory of her.
Mary Ann is now our tender angel watching and guiding us with her spiritual presence. When our paths cross again we know she will be waiting with her beautiful smile!
Visitation: Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m., Evans Funeral Home, New Rockford.
Prayer Service: Sunday, 7 p.m., in St. John's Catholic Church, New Rockford.
Funeral Mass: St. John's Catholic Church, New Rockford, Monday, June 10, 2013, at 10:30 a.m.
Interment: St. John's Catholic Church, New Rockford. Online condolences may be sent at (www.EvansFuneralHomeND.com).