Atkinson — Mary Agnes Vanderbeek, 82, of Atkinson, died Monday, April 3, 2023 at West Holt Medical Services in Atkinson.
Visitation was held Monday, April 10, 2023 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Atkinson.
Funeral services were held Monday, April 10, 2023 at the church in Atkinson. Fr. Ross Burkhalter officiated.
Burial was in the St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Atkinson.
Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.
Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill was in charge of the arrangements.
Mary was born Sept. 12, 1940, to Alfred G. and Agnes (Barnes) Schaaf in Atkinson. Being the second oldest of 10 children growing up on a farm north of town, Mary began a full, long life of hard work, responsibilities and devoted care and service to others. Her large Schaaf family upbringing, strong work ethic and devotion to the Christian faith guided Mary throughout her entire life. At a young age, Mary learned the life skills that would serve her well as a future nurse's aide, mother and grandmother. She developed and displayed the quiet, gentle toughness and unwavering kindness and generosity that all who knew her loved and respected.
Soon after graduating from St. Joseph High School in 1958, Mary began a long career as a nurse's aide at Atkinson Memorial (later, West Holt Memorial) Hospital in Atkinson.
In early 1962, she married Elvin J. “Alex” Vanderbeek of Stuart. Within a span of only four years total, they created a pack of five rambunctious boys! They are Martin “Marty” Lynn and Myron Lee (the twins), Michael Ray, Mark Anthony and Richard “Ricky” Alan.
As if raising five boys is not testament enough to Mary's fortitude, she did so while working as a nurse's aide. She gave loving and life-preserving medical care to a countless number of patients during a career spanning nearly three decades.
Despite her work demands, Mary was always there for her boys. She cooked and cleaned at home, lovingly nursed them through sicknesses and injuries, took them to church at St. Joseph Catholic Church and often participated in family gatherings and reunions. During their grade school and high school years, Mary faithfully attended school programs and concerts, track meets, plays, etc.
She met future challenges with equal resolve and faith, including beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1984 and then breast cancer many years later. Through it all, Mary remained a kind and gracious, giving woman to her boys and seven grandchildren.
She cherished having so many of her siblings in and around Atkinson for frequent visits, such as Randy's New Year birthday celebrations on the dairy farm, and lively meal gatherings at Bud's home. Mary, being the oldest sister, was a motherly figure and anchor to her younger brothers and sisters.
Mary's favorite hobby was cake baking and decorating, and she was quite good at it. For over 30 years she baked cakes for numerous weddings, family reunions and other local functions. Mary was the designated “cake cutter” at weddings and other celebrations, and anyone who attempted to cut a cake in Mary's presence needed to bring their “A Game!” Mary was also famous for her heavenly Divinity, a festive Christmas candy which few cooks know how to make.
She loved traveling and very much enjoyed visits to family in Ohio, Minnesota and Tennessee. She accompanied her son Rick on many of his work trips and leisure trips around the country and into Mexico and Canada. In recent years Mary took interest in attending Native American Pow Wow's in South Dakota.
She also enjoyed being around the classic car scene with Marty and Myron, even attending the famous Lambrecht Classic Chevrolet Auction in Pierce.
Mary is survived by her four sons,Myron Vanderbeek, Marty Vanderbeek and Mike (Laura) Vanderbeek, all of Atkinson, and Richard Vanderbeek of Denver, CO; seven grandchildren Kendra Vanderbeek, Mary Vanderbeek, Alyssa Vanderbeek, David (Marissa) Vanderbeek, Gina (Larry) Bourquin, Chase Harrison and Josh (Precious) Chesler; 11 great-grandchildren; six siblings Richard Schaaf of Omaha, Anita Babutzke of Atkinson, Randy (Lynette) Schaaf of Stuart, Gayle (Roger) Jungman of Atkinson, Daniel (Nancy) Schaaf of Hamilton, Ohio, and Patricia (Tom) Hamik of Atkinson; one sister-in-law Judy Schaaf of Atkinson; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents Alfred and Agnes Schaaf; her son Mark Vanderbeek; and three brothers Lonnie Schaaf, Tom Schaaf and Alfred “Bud” Schaaf.
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