Mary Jean Rath, 84, of New London, formerly of Bowman, ND, died peacefully, Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012 at GlenOaks Care Center in New London after a 25 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Posted on November 29, 2012
Mary Jean Rath, 84, of New London, formerly of Bowman, ND, died peacefully, Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012 at GlenOaks Care Center in New London after a 25 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Her funeral will be 2:00 pm, Friday, November 30, 2012 at Calvary Lutheran Church Chapel in Willmar. Burial will be 2:00 pm, Sunday, December 2nd at Bowman Cemetery in Bowman, ND. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar, <www.hafh.org> www.hafh.org. Memorials preferred.
Mary Jean (Jean) Larson was born October 5, 1928, to Alfred and Neva Larson at Dickey, N.D. and she grew up on the family farm near LaMoure, N.D. Jean attended a grade school at Dean Township School #2 and was a graduate of LaMoure High School. She received a temporary teaching certificate and taught for one year at the country school she had attended. She then attended nurses training at Mercy Hospital in Valley City, N.D. and became a registered nurse.
In 1951, she married Virgil Rath. They moved to Bowman in 1957, where he opened his optometric practice and they raised two children, Sandra and Timothy. Jean continued her career at Bowman Hospital and later worked as the optometric receptionist at Tri State Clinic. At age 60, shewent back to school to re-certify her nursing license. It was at this time she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Jean fondly remembered her early life on the farm. It was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. She told stories about the bum lambs being fed by bottle, the geese that would chase them and bite if they could and the horses they rode bareback. She often mentioned her three younger brothers with some exasperation since she was in charge of keeping them in line. Jean and her two sisters would play piano or guitar and sing and harmonize together. She loved music all her life and would sing to Sandi and Tim songs with silly lyrics such as, Three Little Fishies and Mares Eat Oats. She learned to play piano by ear and loved working out songs but only behind closed doors. Jean was a simple person, in the best possible way. Her Scottish background was evident as she lived by the motto “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” She was hardworking, frugal and gentlewith a stubborn inner strength. She loved sewing, nature, animals, and gardening. Even when her illness was causing problems, she still wanted to be a part of the United Methodist Church and the UMW. She was a strong woman in a frail body and she kept her sense of humor to the end.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, two sisters and a brother. She is survived by her daughter, Sandi (Russ) Bennett, Spicer, MN; son, Tim (Diane) Rath, Apple Valley, MN; grandchildren, Chris (Sara) Bennett, Willmar; Jeff Bennett, St Cloud; Elissa (Corey) Nelson, Willmar; Jake (Amy) Rath, Lakeville; Justin (Erin) Rath, St Louis Park; Julie Rath,Apple Valley, and great grandchildren, Mickenzie and Isaiah Bennett, Lola and Greta Nelson, Carter and Cali Rath, and Sean Rath; and her siblings, Robert (Margaret) Larson, Edgeley, ND; Jerrald (Dorothy) Larson, LaMoure, ND; Gayle (Larry) Schuck, Bismarck, ND ; and a sister-in-law, Alice Larson, LaMoure, ND.