Mary Ann Podgornik Kruger of Springbrook, Wisconsin and formerly Duluth, Minnesota passed away peacefully in her beautiful home on Friday, October 9 at 84 years old. Mary Ann was adored and loved by her family and so many wonderful life-long friends. She is survived by her loving husband of 24 years, Ron Kruger, her children James (Cheryl) Podgornik (Proctor), Ann-Marie (Brian) Tewey (Boulder, CO), Michael (Diane) Podgornik (Duluth), step-children Tammy (Darryl) Grubbs, Terrie Kruger, Ron Kruger, daughter-in-law Mary (John) Podgornik, sister Sally Ann Gilbert, grandchildren Bree (Brooks) Thompson, Nick Podgornik, Laura Podgornik, Jonathan Podgornik, Celia Tewey, Jenna Podgornik, Jace Podgornik, Adam Keith, step-grandchildren Derick Grubbs, Chase Kruger, and her many great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Mary Ann is preceded in death by her first husband John G. Podgornik Sr., son John G. Podgornik Jr., mother Celia S. Walczynski Moniak, father Clement B. Moniak, sister Katherine Bertzyk, grandparents Katherine and Jacob Walczynski, Hattie and Valentine Moniak.
Mary Ann was born on January 14, 1936, in Superior, Wisconsin to Celia S. and Clement B. Moniak. She moved to Wicklow Street in Duluth, MN with her mother and sister Sally Ann in 1950. She attended Lincoln Jr. High for 9th grade and then Denfeld High School where she was a majorette, worked at Bridgeman’s Ice Cream Shoppe, and graduated in 1954. Mary Ann attended Duluth Beauty School and her first job as a beautician was at Glass Block. She married John Podgornik in 1957. In 1957 their twin sons James and John were born. In 1960 Mary Ann and John bought their home on 6th street in West Duluth where Mary Ann lived for 36 years. Ann-Marie was born in 1960 and Michael in 1964.
Mary Ann worked at Burke’s Beauty Salon for over 25 years while raising her 4 children. She was an active member of the PTA’s at Merritt, Laura MacArthur, West Junior and Denfeld. She never missed a performance or production her children were in. She was a Girl Scout leader and took her troops to Girl Scout camps for many years. She was also a Cub Scout leader when her youngest son was in a pack. She spent a few years selling real estate for Olafson Genereau Realty and was a member of the West Duluth Business Club. Mary Ann was also a docent at the Duluth Zoo and loved to share the stories of the animals she got to know and love. In 1975 she purchased the Hi-Rise Beauty Salon, in Faith Haven where her mother lived. She renamed the salon “Mary Ann’s Hi-Rise”. She later purchased the Cameo Beauty Salon and operated both at the same time. She sold the Cameo and in 1996 sold the Hi-Rise and retired as a beautician. Mary Ann’s employees remember her as one of the best bosses they ever had. Her many clients during her years as a beautician were so special to her. Her children remember visiting the salons to hang out watching her work, help sweep the floors, and twirl up and down on the chairs.
In 1996 Mary Ann married Ron Kruger and moved to Springbrook, Wisconsin where they built a beautiful home together. Mary Ann learned to bow and rifle hunt with Ron and spent many hours hunting in the woods and in tree stands where yes, she had to be very quiet and not talk. She and Ron traveled out west many times by car to Colorado and other states. Their home in Springbrook was the center of many birthday parties, holiday gatherings and hunting gatherings with her entire blended family.
Due to COVID–19, no services are planned for the immediate future. A Catholic mass and a memorial gathering will be held for Mary Ann at a future date to be determined. The family would like to thank everyone for their love, support and beautiful sentiments during this difficult time.