On February 16th, together Jesus and Orrin reached out their hands to take Mary Jeanne home after a long and challenging battle with Alzheimer’s.
Mary Jeanne Kottke was born to Arthur B. and Elsie Ida Clara Wendt Kottke on February 4, 1931 in Graceville, Minnesota. Just 60 miles away the love of her life, Orrin C. Nordin was born just a few hours later. However, they did not meet until they went off to boarding high school at West Central School of Agriculture in Morris, Minnesota in 1946.
While at WCSA, Mary Jeanne was involved in chorus, YWCA, and the class plays. They held onto those high school friendships their entire lives. Together they graduated in 1948. Soon after, Mary Jeanne left to attend nursing school in Oregon City, Oregon, where her parents had moved to. Mary found nursing school too intimidating for her at the time so she returned to Morris for another year in Advanced Studies at WCSA. However, we all know it was really because she missed Orrin too much.
They were inseparable and married on June 26, 1951 in Hoffman, Minnesota where Orrin was working as a carpenter. They bought their first home, a 40 acre farm just 5 miles south of Hoffman for $2,000.00. It was on the farm that Dana Mark, the first of their 5 children, was born in September of 1952.
The following summer of 1953 they moved to California. It was in their home on Gamma Street in Garden Grove that they added 3 daughters, Jill Christine, Lynn Marie and Beth Nancy and finally, another son, Reid Timothy. During those years the family spent countless weekends out in the desert and sand dunes jeeping and camping with the 4 Wheelers of Orange County. There were also many family houseboat vacations on Lake Meed and Lake Mojave.
Mary Jeanne was a stay at home mom until 1970 when she returned to school to finish her nursing degree in 1973, the same year her first born daughter graduated from high school. Mary Jeanne spent her entire career working the night shift at Western Medical Center as an Oncology nurse. She worked for 15 years until she was forced to retire early due to an acute onset of Bells Palsy that never improved. Mary’s 3 daughters have all followed in their mother’s footsteps and are all nurses working night shift in different areas of nursing.
In 1994 Orrin went into semi-retirement so he and Mary moved to Grangeville, Idaho to live with their daughter, Lynn and husband Jim. In 2001, the Nordin’s celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the home of the Welborn’s with family and friends coming from all over the country.
Along with traveling back to Morris for most all of their class reunions, the Nordin’s also attended several Kottke Family reunions. Mary and Orrin’s family grew from 5 children to include spouses, 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Mary Jeanne will always be remembered by her love of purple, her beautiful voice and her sweet gentle spirit. She loved any occasion she could dress up. She had impeccable taste and could easily look as elegant as a queen. She loved her soaps and even got Orrin hooked on them. She could make a mean bowl of oatmeal and believed no one should start the day without it. Her Christmas breakfast tradition and singing grace continues to be carried down through the generations. In her earlier years in OC, she could be seen bee-bopping around in her baby blue BMW. She had quite the lead foot. Orrin was known for his joking phrase regarding this habit, “Step on it Parnelli, their gainin’ on us”. Despite the ravages of this horrible disease known as “The Long Goodbye”, still there were times when she’d laugh with us and hum to her favorite hymns. During this time of decline still her sweet kind spirit shown through at the most unique times with simple yet profound comments. She was a blessing to all who met her. Although we will miss our mother, grandmother and great grandmother terribly we are glad her suffering is over and she is gone to be with our Lord and with Orrin, the love of her life.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Orrin, in October of last year; her parents; 2 sisters, Muriel Oliver and Beth Griess; a brother, Eugene Kottke, and a son-in-law, Jan Kline.
Mary is survived by her 5 children, Dana Nordin of Grangeville, Lynn & Jim Welborn of Grangeville, Jill Kline of Anaheim, California, Beth & Bo Wendel of Farmington, Utah and Reid & Jill Nordin of Lake Elsinore, California; her 11 grandchildren, Jeremy, Ryan and Heather Welborn, Krista, Chad, Jennifer and Adam Kline, Katie and Reid Wendel, Trevor and Peyton Nordin; 4 great grandchildren, Krystan, Justin and Owen Welborn, Brayden Kline and Orrin Welborn. She is also survived by two sisters, Jackie McMames of Arizona and Theola Lohr of New Jersey, and a brother, Ron Kottke of Minnesota.
Funeral services will be at Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville on Saturday, February 23, 2008, at 1:00 p.m., with burial following at the Mt Idaho Cemetery. There will be a dinner for family and friends at the Grangeville Christian Church following the burial.
Condolences may be sent to the family at Blackmerfuneralhome.com.