Sunday will be Mother’s Day, a day specially designated to honor mothers. They’ll receive cards, be taken out for a meal or maybe invited to join their offspring for a meal those being honored didn’t have to make, given gifts and have other ways of celebrating. Those who lost their mothers obviously cannot spend time with them any longer, but that doesn’t mean they have been forgotten. The daughters of Mary Jane Rex-Schoenfeld will spend their first Mother’s Day without her.
Mary Jane passed away on January 19. She was less than two months shy of her 93rd birthday. Mary Jane spent most of her adult life in the Iron Ridge and Horicon areas, although she was a Florida snowbird as well. “Mom gave us all a great foundation to live our lives by, setting a wonderful example on how to live life to the fullest, and we are eternally grateful for being blessed with such a caring and loving mother,” said Sue Kuen. “She will be missed forever, but will always be in our hearts.” At Mary Jane’s funeral, a plaque was on display called Mom’s Hands. Mary Jane’s daughters gave her that plaque for Mother’s Day in 2012, May 5 to be exact. “I saw the saying on Facebook and edited it to reflect closer to our Mom’s life,” said Judy Wackett. “I also thought the idea of taking a picture of the left hand of all of her daughters and having the saying and picture framed.” Judy added that the saying is a reflection of her mother’s hard-working hands during the 92 years of her life. Mary Jane’s (in the photo) left center hand is included in the picture with those of her five daughters.
Beginning at Mary Jane’s left is her oldest daughter. The rest follow in age order in the same manner – first Mary Ann Sternat, followed by Judy, Sue, June Scheberl and Jane Hilgendorf. “The plaque has so much more meaning now since her passing,” said Mary Ann. Each of Mary Jane’s daughters is also a mother. There is a copy of Mom’s Hands hanging on a wall in the home of Mary Ann, Judy, Sue, June and Jane. “It is a time of reflecting, the beginning of her holding our hands until we were taking care of her and holding her hands until God took her home,” said June, explaining what the plaque means to her. “The plaque is a cherished memory of the time spent together creating the keepsake,” added Jane.
Mary Jane was an only child, born and raised in Beaver Dam. She met Orrin Rex at a dance in Beaver Dam. Orrin lived in rural Iron Ridge. Mary Jane and Orrin were married at Grace Presbyterian Church in Beaver Dam on October 5, 1946. In addition to their five daughters, Mary Jane and Orrin welcomed a son. Gene was their first child. The sisters got together on March 16 to celebrate their mom’s birthday.
Memories of their lives with Mary Jane were relived and the sisters talked about what their mother meant to them. As each described her mother, the other sisters emphatically agreed with the assessment. “Mom was good natured and always had a great big smile on her face,” said Jane. “Mom had a wonderful sense of humor, and had a little spunk in her.” Judy remembered her mother telling them to not carry their keys in their purses in case the purse the daughter was using was stolen. “She was always giving us advice on how to stay safe,” said Judy. “Mom was always a phone call away and always there for us.” Mary Jane had many great friends who enjoyed her company.
Lunching with classmates was a favorite activity for Mary Jane. “Mom was a social butterfly,” said Mary Ann. “She always had a full calendar. Mom enjoyed life to the fullest. “Mom never complained and always thought of others first before herself,” remembered Sue. A serious card player, Mary Jane also enjoyed playing bingo, being part of an exercise group, taking bus trips and traveling.
Mary Jane instilled the importance of a relationship with God in her children. continued on section II, page 5 Sunday, May 8, 2016 Mother Provided A Wonderful Example On How To Live Life Mom’s Hands May 5, 2012 Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak, have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. They braced and caught my fall when, as a toddler, I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.
As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when God lifted him from his pain and took him to heaven before me. They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding ring, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.
They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life. But more importantly, it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home. With my hands, He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of God! I will never look at my hands the same again. Mom’s Hand (center left), Mary Ann (Mom’s left), Judy, Sue, June and Jane (Mom’s right).