Mary Hanlon, 82

Mary Hanlon, 82, of Belle Plaine, died of a rare cancer on Monday, April 25, 2011 at her farmhouse in Derrynane Township, Le Sueur County.

Mary Bessie David was born on March 19, 1929 to Thomas and Mary (Rehor) David in the house that her father built in Montgomery. The family later moved to the farm on the eastern edge of Le Sueur County. When Mary started school, she spoke only Czech, and after learning English she remained bilingual the rest of her life. She attended country grade school, St. Raphael's Catholic School, and then Montgomery High School. Mary met her husband, Jerry, at the Heidelberg Dance Hall in the late 1940s, and they were married on October 8, 1949, at Holy Redeemer Church in Montgomery.

Mary was a homemaker who also helped on the family farm by driving the tractor for baling hay. She liked to cook and was a seamstress for her family and for others, for whom she sewed wedding gowns and church vestments. She worked in sewing shops in New Prague and the Montgomery Hilltop Dry Cleaners. Mary was also an Avon Lady for 24 years. She was a Red Hat member in Belle Plaine and Montgomery and was known to everyone as the Purple Lady. After her husband died in 2003, she had the old farm silo painted purple with red hats on the sides and her house painted an earthtone purple.

Mary liked to garden and planted hundreds of flowers each year, mostly purple in color. She was a Home Extension member since it began in 1950, her bridge club from 1950, the Card-O-Rama Club, and the Czech Sokol Club. She was also an officer of the Irish Hibernians, a St. Thomas Church officer during its centennial, a Le Sueur County election judge and one of the organizers of the Belle Plaine Days held annually in Arizona, as well as the treasurer of her park's social club.

Mary wintered in Apache Junction, AZ, and loved all the singing, dancing and great friends.

She is survived by eight children Eileen, Belle Plaine, David (Jennie), Arizona, Sharon (David) Rawlings, Florida, Dan (Carol), Burnsville, Tom (Gwen), Eagan, Terry, Prior Lake, Bob (Margaret), Chaska, and Susie, Belle Plaine; 17 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; a brother Ted David, Rochester; nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; and siblings Tommy, Milo and Luddie.

The Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Thomas Catholic Church, St. Thomas, with Rev. Roger Hessian and Rev. George Grafsky officiating.

Interment is at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Belle Plaine, with her grandchildren as casketbearers.

Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Kolden Funeral Home in Belle Plaine, with a rosary at 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the church.

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