Mary Jo Benda

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 1:35 pm

Mary Jo Benda, 77, of Decorah, died Sunday evening, May 22, 2016, at her home in Decorah. Memorial services are at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at Decorah Lutheran Church with Rev. Dave Sorenson and Rev. Charis Combs-Lay officiating. Private family inurnment is later at Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah. Organist is Kathy Murray. Soloist is Kari Iverson (“The Lord’s Prayer”). Congregational hymns are “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Beautiful Savior” and “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Visitation is from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 27, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, and Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., one hour before the service, at Decorah Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

Mary Jo (Bergsrud) Benda was born May 9, 1939, in Decorah, the daughter of Herbert “Huns” and Julia (Young) Bergsrud, the first of two children. She attended Decorah schools and graduated from Decorah High School with the class of 1957. She was united in marriage to Donald Joseph Benda Nov. 17, 1961. They were the proud parents of four children: Kirk, born in 1962, Kim, born in 1964, Kallie, born in 1969 and Kolice, born in 1971. Don and Mary Jo enjoyed 54 years of marriage, making their home in Decorah. Together they enjoyed gardening, fishing, casinos and being with each other. Mary Jo attended Luther College in 1958 and graduated from Methodist Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester, Minn. in 1961, as a registered nurse. She started her career at the Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital in Decorah, and then she worked at Aase Haugen Home for 25 years. She worked her final 15 years as a registered nurse at Oneota Riverview Care Facility before retiring. She enjoyed going to Curves, lunching with friends, reading, playing the piano and loved being in the kitchen.

Mary Jo is survived by her husband, Don of Decorah; her four children: Kirk (Jane) of Woodstock, Ill., Kim of Rochester, Minn., Kallie (Mike) Sheehan of Wausau, Wis. and Kolice (Cory) Koester of West Des Moines; eight grandchildren: Brandon (Kristi) Benda, Brennae Benda, Maggie Benda, Olivia, Emmy, Alexa and Ieden Sheehan and Adison Koester. Mary Jo also had great joy in meeting her great-granddaughter, Brynleigh Benda. She is also survived by her sister, Sharon (Curt) Headington of Mount Vernon.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Huns and Julia Bergsrud.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Winneshiek Medical Center Same Day Services or to WMC Hospice, both at 901 Montgomery Street, Decorah, IA 52101.

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