Mary Ann Bodensteiner, of Redwood Falls and Prior Lake, died Thursday, August 23, 2012 at McKenna Crossing Senior Living in Prior Lake. A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 25, 2012 from St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Redwood Falls. Visitation will be held at the church on Saturday from 9:30 until 11 a.m. Private inurnment will be held at St. Catherine’s Catholic Cemetery.
Arrangements are with Nelson-Martin Funeral Service of Redwood Falls. E-mail condolences may be sent via
Mary Ann (Lyons) Bodensteiner grew up in Madison, South Dakota, as the only child of Richard Joseph and Irma Alice (Waters) Lyons. When she was five, she chose to attend St. Thomas Catholic School and was baptized with her first grade class in attendance. With her dad’s work as a lawyer, county judge, and with the U.S. Department of War, she spent parts of many school years in other cities and even other states, and she graduated from Madison Central High School in 1945. Her father passed away soon after, but her mother, Irma (Nan), instilled a sense of adventure in her daughter. Mary Ann spent many summers on the homestead farm near Nunda with her Irish grandmother, and she continued to manage that farm to present. She attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature. After graduation she taught in high schools in eastern South Dakota and then in Anoka. While there, she met Leo G. Bodensteiner.
They were married in 1955, and immediately departed for Calcutta, India, on a honeymoon and for his job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mary Ann hosted members of the U.S. and British consulates, and she served as an organizer of medical clinics for Mother Theresa. Their first child, Leo R., was born there, joined soon after by Nan. They returned to the U.S. in 1957 on the Queen Elizabeth II to live in Washington, DC. Life then took her to Colorado, to Minnesota, where sons Jim and Rich were born, to Wyoming, and back again to Minnesota for the birth of Kathy. They built their house in Redwood Falls in 1966 to raise their four children. Annual family vacations entailed fishing trips to northern Minnesota, adventures to the Badlands and Black Hills, and extended driving trips to national parks and the Great Lakes.
Mary Ann’s life was exemplified by her involvement in church and civic activities. She was a leader for Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, and a religious education instructor. She volunteered for United Way, Meals on Wheels, and the Red Cross, and she was an active member of St. Catherine’s Catholic Church and its Altar Society. Mary Ann had an affinity for politics, serving as an election judge and campaigning for several DFL Party candidates. She continued her teaching career at Redwood Falls High School until retiring in 1982.
Each of her four children found loving and supportive spouses – Teri, Mary, Julie, and Mike – and among them had nine grandchildren that filled her life: Elizabeth and Kate (Leo and Teri, Bellingham, Washington); Michael and Ali (Jim and Mary, Maple Grove); Mari, Molly, and Mati (Rich and Julie, Red Wing); and John and Sarah Spanier (Mike and Kathy Spanier, Prior Lake). She greatly enjoyed taking each of them in turn on their own vacation adventures. She was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years Leo G.
In recent years, she split her time between Redwood Falls and Prior Lake, where she enjoyed new friends and community support. Mary Ann instilled in her children, grandchildren and her students the ideals of community service, helping those in need, and pursuing fulfillment through education.