MARY ANGELA STRASSERMary Angela Strasser, 65, of Hibbing, died Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.
Mary Angela Strasser, 65, of Hibbing, died Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at Heritage Manor in Chisholm, Minn.
She was born on May 25, 1948, in Minneapolis, the only child of Leo and Rose (Marinelli) Zygmanski.
Mary and her parents made their home in Hibbing and were long-time members of Immaculate Conception Church. Her life was centered around music, teaching, and the performing arts. She and Rose were among the many long-time piano teachers in Hibbing and participants in the annual Hibbing Musicale's Junior Music Festival.
She graduated from Hibbing High School in 1966. She went on to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Humanities in 1971. In 1989, she received her teacher license in secondary education. She received her Masters of Education in Teaching and Learning from St. Mary's University of Minnesota in 2001.
She was a long-time volunteer at the Duluth Playhouse where she met her future husband Walter Strasser while they were both working on a production of Carousel. They were married on Oct. 22, 1982, at the Strasser family cabin on Lake Nichols near Cotton. They made their home in Hibbing. They had been married 30 years when Walter passed away in May 2013.
Mary began her professional career at Kreiman's Book Store in Duluth. She was an associate editor at Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich Publications in Duluth. As a marketing specialist, she edited and wrote corporate publications at NWR Electronics in Hibbing. She did fine arts reporting for the Hibbing Daily Tribune. She served as choral accompanist at Blessed Sacrament Church and director of the Grace Notes Handbell Choir at First Lutheran Church, both in Hibbing.
Mary did her student teaching at Hibbing High School. She was vocal music teacher at Assumption School in Hibbing. She taught Study Skills, English, Honors World Literature, Honors American Literature, and Creative Writing at Virginia Secondary School starting in September 1991 until her retirement in January 2011. Her classroom (T101) was a special place not just because of her organization and enthusiasm, but also for its décor and ambiance, including a raven statue she kept as an homage to Edgar Allen Poe. At any time during the day, the sound of her playing the upright piano she kept in her classroom was never a surprise. She was the faculty advisor for the Speech Team, Word Masters, and Literature at Lunch Bunch. She began the language arts' annual field trip to the Guthrie Theatre, a tradition that continues. She had numerous students who competed at the annual MSHSL State Speech Contest including more than a few medal winners.
Mary was an active member and held leadership positions within many local, statewide, and national literary and performing arts organizations. Many of her memberships can be counted in decades. She was a true bookworm and served on the Hibbing Public Library Board. She was an enthusiast in the worlds of cooking and hospitality. She loved listening to Minnesota Public Radio's classical station, especially the live shows from the Metropolitan Opera. The TV could just as easily be tuned to a cooking show on the Food Network as it could be to any of the major championships of tennis or golf. She also enjoyed shopping for unique items on QVC or mail order catalogs. If you called her or Walter during the summer months, they would have to turn down the sound of the Minnesota Twin game, whom Walter habitually referred to as "our lads." Mary had happy memories of the many travels she and Walter had enjoyed nationally and internationally.
Mary received wonderful support and care at Heritage Manor during her three extended stays. She supplied the witty repartee, literary references, and stories. The staff supplied the love and laughter, which is, after all, the best medicine.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter; her parents, Leo and Rose (Marinelli) Zygmanski; her grandparents, John and Maria Concetta (Varriano) Marinelli; her aunts, Anne Marinelli, Angela Marinelli, and Mary (Marinelli) Bradac; and her in-laws, Josef and Helena (Fischer) Strasser.
Mary is survived by her cousins Jane (William) Hamilton of Rosebush, Mich., and John (Susan) Bradac of Mt. Pleasant, Mich.; and many former students, colleagues, and friends.
SERVICE: 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 17, in Immaculate Conception Church, Hibbing. There will be a celebration of Mary's life in the performing arts starting at 10 a.m. until the funeral service in the church.
Inurnment next to Walter will be at Maple Hill Cemetery, Hibbing later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to local historical, literary, or performing arts organizations.
Arrangements are with the Dougherty Funeral Home, Hibbing. To leave an online message of condolence, visit www.doughertyofhibbing.com.
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