Mary Torkelson

Mary Torkelson


Mary Kay Torkelson, 89, of Elgin, Iowa died Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Gundersen Palmer Hospital in West Union, Iowa. Mary Kay was born September 13, 1929 to Wilbur and Helen (Peyer) Thornton in Postville, Iowa. She graduated from Postville High School.  After graduation, Mary attended Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, now known as University of Northern Iowa, earning her two year teaching certificate.

Mary was united in marriage with Sylvan Torkelson on March 5, 1951 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Clermont, Iowa.  Three children were born to this union. Mary taught first at Mt. Vernon, Iowa and went on to substitute teach at Postville, Elkader and Valley in Elgin. She also worked for fifteen years with learning disabled children before retiring. After retirement she became a tour guide at Montauk for 20 years. Mary was a member of St. Peter’s Rosary Society, Home and Garden Club, Valley Writers, Elgin Dance Club and two different card groups. Every anniversary of theirs and their close friends, Merlin and Lenora Mae Anderson and Arlyn and Mary Ann Gray, were spent together for sixty years. Mary also enjoyed hosting the Thornton-Heckman family reunions for 35 years at the farm, picnics with her kids and friends, reading, writing, gardening, quilting and making pillowcase dolls.

Mary is survived by her husband, Sylvan Torkelson of Elgin, Iowa; children, Karen (Jeff) McMillan of Vonore, Tennessee, Steven (Deborah) Torkelson of Farmington, New York and Kevin (Friend, Carrie Tope) Torkelson of Elgin, Iowa; five grandchildren, Craig (Jamie) Baldwin, Ryan (fiancée, Haley Hoke) McMillan, Sara (Andy) Burt, Stephanie (Caleb) Sharp and Andrew Torkelson; one great-grandchild, Kayley Burt; her siblings, Dawn (Tom) Cables of Cleveland, Ohio, Keith (Brenda) Thornton of Waco, Texas and Faye Thornton of Cleveland, Ohio; two sisters-in-law, Lila Thornton and Mary Ellen Thornton; a brother-in-law, James Dale; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Wilbur and Helen Thornton; three brothers, Gene Thornton, Jim Thornton and Clayton “Mike” Thornton; one sister, Beverly Dale; and a sister-in-law, Joean Thornton

Visitation was held  Sunday, May 26, 2019 from 4-7 p.m. with a 3:45 p.m. Rosary at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Elgin, Iowa. There was also a one hour visitation before Mass at the church on Tuesday.

Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Clermont, Iowa with Rev. Dan Knipper as the Celebrant.

Burial followed at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, Clermont, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to St Peter’s Catholic Church in Clermont, Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union and the Elgin Library.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Elgin, Iowa is helping the family with arrangements.

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