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Mary Hansbery
mary hansbery
Mary Hansbery, 1922-2016 - photo by Contributed/Picha Funeral Home

Mary Hansbery, 93, departed in the early hours of Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 after a battle with numerous issues of aging.
Mary was born near Yuba, WI on Nov. 4, 1922 to Martin and Tena (Novy) Rott. She married her late husband, John N. Hansbery, on June 22, 1940. She, her husband, and their five daughters worked their farm near Champion Valley (north of Yuba, WI) until John’s passing from cancer in May of 1970.

Newly widowed with three daughters, she rose to meet this challenge. They said goodbye to the farm and resettled in Richland Center.  Here she worked in the dietary department at the Richland Center hospital for 18 years until she retired in the early 90’s.

Mary then moved on to the next chapter of her life. She set off to explore the southwest with her traveling companion Clair “Bud” Mc Lees. The beautiful painted deserts of Arizona became their home away from home. In April of 1995 she and her daughter Joan visited Prague. As a lover of polka, and of the Czech culture from which she descended, she was elated to visit the country she had only known from secondhand accounts.

At the age of 70 she settled in Reedsburg and started work at the Lands’ End Distribution Center. She worked with her usual enthusiasm and enjoyed the companionship of her co-workers. After 15 years she retired for a second time at age 85. Mary always said she lived her life in chapters: from her childhood and early adulthood on the farm, her family in Richland Center, travels throughout the west, and her independent life in Reedsburg.

She enjoyed quilting, listening to polka music, reading a broad spectrum of literature, gardening, storytelling, the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and cooking lovely foods for her family. She was a truly progressive matriarch and her memory will be cherished by all who knew her.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Martin and Tena Rott; her husband, John N. Hansbery; and one sister, Dorothy Jacobson.

She is survived by one sister, Josephine Hansberry. She is also survived by her five daughters; Betsy Thibodeau, Janice (Larry) Holak, Joan Hansbery, Kristine Hansbery, and Lieutenant Commander (Ret.) Sherri Jackson; as well as her five grandchildren; Amy (Ron) Zeihen, Wyatt Thibodeau, Andy (Kim) Holak, Jackie Maier, and Martina Jackson; four step-grandchildren Traci (Jesse) Meyer and Matthew (Jimena) Maier, Nicole Jackson, and Wendy Jackson; five great grandchildren;  Beau, Genevieve, Abi, Bryce, and James; and five step grandchildren; Elly, Brady, Hank, Matthew Jr., and Joseph.

Also surviving her are two nephews by her sister, Dorothy; Roger (Ellen) Jacobson and Rodney (Cindy) Jacobson and two great nieces and one great nephew. Surviving her by her sister Josephine are two nephews; Wesley (Lois) Hansberry and Jim (Kelly) Hansberry and two nieces, Arda Kolowrat and Mary (Ken) Ennis, and 15 great nieces and nephews and 23 great-great nieces and nephews and one great-great-great nephew.

Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the Picha Funeral Home in Hillsboro, Wisconsin.  Burial will be in the Czech National Cemetery (Champion Valley) near Yuba, with luncheon to follow at the Yuba Community Center.  Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Picha Funeral Home in Hillsboro. For online information, go to