Mary Alice (Susag) Smedberg, 81, of Moorhead, MN, formerly of Wahpeton, ND, passed away on Sunday, January 5, 2020, at Lilac Homes Assisted Living Memory Care in Moorhead. Due to the current health concerns impacting the country, a private family service will be held on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wahpeton to honor Mary’s life. Interment will be at Homestead Cemetery in rural Richland County, ND. Arrangements have been entrusted to Vertin-Munson Funeral Home in Wahpeton.
Mary, Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Mary were some of the beloved names of Mary Alice Susag Smedberg (just don’t call her “Ma!”). Mary was born on April 1, 1938, and raised in Pelican Rapids, MN. She walked to a rural one room schoolhouse for the first eight grades then attended high school in Pelican Rapids. After high school, she eventually made her way to Minneapolis, to work as an insurance claims processor. There she met the love of her life, Bob. They were married on September 12, 1959, and Bob whisked her off to farm near Galchutt, ND. They raised four girls and tilled the fertile soil for twenty-one years before moving to Fargo, ND. In Fargo, Mary enjoyed her women’s group at Hope Lutheran Church and a much smaller garden. In retirement, Mary and Bob headed west to spend twelve wonderful years picking huckleberries in the Rocky Mountains near Helena, MT, and making lefse and lutefisk with the Sons of Norway. The grandkids were coming, so they packed up and set up a new home on a corner of the rented farmland back near Galchutt. Winters in North Dakota turned them into snow birds in Arizona until 2013. In Yuma, Mary enjoyed her Red Hat Club, happy hour with fellow RVers, and exploring the southwest desert with Bob.
Mary was cared for by the most loving and knowledgeable staff at Lilac Homes Assisted Living Memory Care in Moorhead, MN since August of 2018. We also want to thank Hospice of the Red River Valley whose staff have been an integral part of her care the past several months. Sweet Mary, as family and friends called her, is now rejoicing in the presence of Jesus.
Mary’s beautiful life will forever be cherished in her four daughters, Patti Jelinek, of Memphis, TN, Jacki (Kevin) Medenwald, of Wahpeton, ND, Deanna (Curt) Bohn, of Savage, MN, and Dianne Smedberg, of Wahpeton, ND; 12 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; brothers, David (Lois) Susag, of Battle Lake, MN and Glenn Susag, of Hawley, MN; many nieces and nephews; and a special foreign exchange student, Sirpa Turves-Mankila, of Finland.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Robert (Bob); sister, Arlys Elliot; sister-in-law, Karen Susag; brother-in-law, Gerald Smedberg; and parents Alfred and Leona Susag.
In lieu of flowers and memorials, please donate to Hospice of the Red River Valley or the National Alzheimer’s Association.