Mary Ann Kuennen

Friday, January 19, 2024 3:54 pm

Mary Ann Kuennen, age 89, of Lawler, died Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, at her home surrounded by her family.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Lawler, with Rev. Nick Radloff, Rev. Ivan Nienhaus and Deacon Jim Zajicek are concelebrating the Mass.  Interment will be held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery, Lawler. Pallbearers will be her grandsons, Bill Kuennen, Nick Kuennen, Brian Smith, Tim Kuennen, Bob Kuennen, Jake Kuennen, Josh Kuennen, Brady Kuennen, and Alex Altmann. Honorary pallbearers are her granddaughters, Carol Gaul, Sally Tieskoetter, Sue Rieland, Michelle Smith, Kayla Boots, Jessica Kuennen, Kathy Elsbernd, Jenny Kuennen, Allison Kuennen, Madeline Altmann, and Gabrielle Altmann.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Lawler where there will be 7 p.m. parish scripture service. Visitation continues an hour prior to Mass at the church.

Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory have been entrusted with services. Online condolences for the Kuennen family  may be left at

Mary Ann Kuennen, a beacon of unwavering love and faith, passed away peacefully on Jan. 19, 2024, in her cherished hometown of Lawler, Iowa. Born on Dec. 26, 1934, on a family farm north of Lawler, Mary Ann’s life was a testament to the beauty of simplicity and the enduring power of love.

Her journey began as a young girl attending country school by Little Turkey, where the seeds of her lifelong learning and love for nature were planted. At the tender age of 16, Mary Ann’s heart was captured by Delbert Kuennen of St. Lucas, Iowa, in a serendipitous meeting at the Legion Hall in Lawler. Their love was swift and sure, a love at first sight that endured the test of time and distance. Despite Delbert’s Air Force commitments and their mere four dates before marriage, their union was blessed at Assumption Church in Little Turkey on September 28, 1953. The young couple’s adventure took them to Louisiana, where they welcomed the first of their six children. They would later return to Iowa, creating a loving home and expanding their family on a farm northeast of Jackson Junction.

Mary Ann’s life was a canvas of creativity and a garden of love. Her hands, always busy, crafted beauty in the kitchen with homemade bread and kolaches. When she could, she enjoyed coloring intricate color books, painting, completing puzzles, and journaling. A dedicated fan, she cheered for the Minnesota Twins, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Iowa Hawkeyes with equal fervor. Her Czech heritage was a source of pride, and she relished family outings, whether to a ballgame or a day spent fishing. Mary Ann’s adventurous spirit shone through her love of gambling and her fond memories of trips to Vegas. Music filled her home, and she often sang along with joy in her heart. She completed many word find and crossword puzzlebooks with keen intellect.

Above all, family was Mary Ann’s number one priority—her greatest passion and achievement. Her life, described as simple but great, was a reflection of her loving, kind, and faith-filled nature. In her words, being a mother was her greatest accomplishment in life, as well as a gift that money could not buy. She took immense pride in seeing her six children grow into wonderful adults. Her only wish was for more time with the family she adored beyond measure.

As we remember Mary Ann, we recall the words of Helen Keller: “What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Mary Ann Kuennen’s legacy of love and faith will forever be etched in the hearts of those she touched.

Mary Ann’s life was one of grace and gratitude, a life where every moment was cherished and every family bond treasured. As we bid farewell to this remarkable woman, we celebrate the love she shared and the lives she so beautifully shaped. Her calm and gentle spirit will continue to inspire and guide us through the seasons of our lives.

Mary Ann’s life was marked by her dedication to her family. She is survived by her loving children: Randy (Laura) of Lawler, Jim (Charrn) of Fort Atkinson, Diane (Al) Smith of Cresco, Ken (Bridget) of Denver, Gary (Janel) of Lawler, and Lynn (Rob) Altmann of Buffalo, MN; 20 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Zephie (Bouska) Shileny; her beloved husband, Delbert in 1997; her granddaughter, Mary Diane Smith; and her siblings, Eleanor (Joe) Dostal, Julius (Loretta) Shileny, and Norbert (Delores) Shileny.

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