Mary Fritz

Mary Fritz


Mary Catharine Belschner Fritz was born on May 27, 1931 to Gustave Louis and Lola Dee (Wilbur) Belschner.  She had one older sister, Marjorie.  She was raised on the family farm southeast of Hawkeye, Iowa.  In school, she was a standout student (valedictorian), athlete (conference champion basketball team), and musician (vocalist).  Following graduating from Hawkeye High School she attended Iowa State University, majoring in Home Economics.  She was a member of the Old Gold Singers and was a sought-after vocalist. 

  She met Louis Fritz at church when she was still a teen and fell head over heels in love.  Louie was farming northeast of Hawkeye but enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1950.  They were married in Trinity Lutheran Church of Hawkeye on July 9, 1952.  Mary moved to San Diego to be with Louie until she became pregnant with their first son, James Louis, when she moved home again.  Following little Jimmy’s birth, the family located in San Diego until Louis was mustered out of the Navy in 1954.

  Louie and Mary moved home to Hawkeye and took up residence on the Fritz family farm northeast of Hawkeye where the two of them farmed until their retirement in 1994.  To this marriage was born three sons: James Louis (wife Liz), Gary Dean, and Robert Ray (wife Angie).  They were the proud grandparents of Deanna Marie (Jim and Liz), Kyle and Connor (Gary) and Christopher, Victoria, Austin Mitchell and Brandon Mitchell (Bob and Angie).

  Louie and Mary were inseparable. They both enjoyed singing (Mary was in a Sweet Adelines Quartet and Louie was in the 40 member Elkader Keystone Barbershop Chorus plus they both sang in church choir), fishing in northern Minnesota, carving and painting duck decoys, gardening, and various forms of artistry including sketching, water colors and acrylics.  Mary was a wonderful cook and kept her 3 growing boys well fed.  They had many close friends and neighbors with whom they enjoyed many evenings of card parties and social gatherings.  They were both lifelong members of Hawkeye Trinity Lutheran church.  They were able to celebrate their 50th anniversary together but a year later, in 2003, Louie died from cancer, which left a hole in Mary’s heart that never completely healed.

  In 2004, Mary moved to Decorah, Iowa to a home next door to Jim and Liz.  She attended Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, sang in the church choir as well as the Northern Lights women’s chorus, and joined PEO. Following a lifetime of struggles with severe roto-scoliosis Mary moved to the Barthell Eastern Star Home of Decorah in November 2017.  She passed peacefully there on August 18, 2020. Mary and her family are very grateful for the loving care she received at Eastern Star, Dr. Wenner, Nurse Kathy Petersburg, Pr. Amy Zalk Larson, and the Hospice staff.

  Mary is survived by her three sons and her 7 grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, and her beloved Louie. 

  Mary’s wish was to donate her body to the Mayo Clinic Department of Anatomy in Rochester, MN for scientific research. A Celebration of Life event will be scheduled in the future.

  Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family.

  Online condolences may be made at

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