Mary Fendt was born into eternal life on April 23, 2022, after 93 years living an amazing example of love.
Born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on January 31, 1929, to Bernice and Francis X. Lorbecki. Mary grew up in Milwaukee, graduated from St. John’s Cathedral High School (1946) and St Joseph’s College of Nursing in Chicago (1950). She married Eugene Fendt in Watertown, WI, July 3, 1954. They moved to Fond du Lac just in time for the birth of their 3rd child. Mary and Gene raised 12 kids, and kept extending their kitchen table, leaving no doubt there was always room for more.
Mary and Gene were members of St. Mary’s Church. Mary was active in many parish ministries, notably being a Eucharistic Minister to the sick and dying for over 20 years, and carrying Jesus in her heart to the marginalized of God’s children through her advocacy for and support to the LGBTQ community in her midst. She built bridges through her participation in inter-church and interfaith groups such as Loaves and Fishes, Church Women United, Muslims and Christians for Peace. Mary had the gift of making a new friend with every new neighbor and activity. She made life-long friends through her work in these groups and others like Faculty Wives, St Lawrence Seminary Parent’s Guild, the Humanity Project, and the Linettes. These last few years Mary became the beneficiary of many of those same ministries.
She is survived by 11 children: Gene (Jean), Laur (Kamal), Greg (Graciela), Mike/Mare (John), Marjie, Phillip, Steve (Diane), Patrick (Pamela), Carol, Dominic (Shizuki), and Valerie (Alexa). She was the adopted mother to many including Gloria, Aki, and Wilfredo. Great-grandmother to Amr, Elizabeth, Alex, she was Grandma to Nora, Tadhg, Brennan; Mustafa, Adam, Rasheed; Thomas, Geena, Carmen; Alexandria, Sam, Mya; Wanda, Neil; Virginia; Mitsuki, Kieran, Sanami, Chikashi, Shigeka, Reuben; David, Sheila, Lauren, Jack. Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Gene (d.1999), one son, Kevin (d.1976), her parents, her four brothers, and many of her beloved friends and contemporaries.
In lieu of flowers, consider a gift of your time, talent or treasure to a worthy cause in your own or Mary’s community, such as Hospice or Loaves and Fishes https://loavesandfishesfdl.org, or a non-profit her children are involved in such as Mary’s Pence https://www.maryspence.org or The Iowa Kitchen www.theiowakitchen.org
Visitation will be held from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Friday, May 6, 2022, at Uecker-Witt Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian burial will begin at 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 7, 2022 at St. Mary’s Church, 59 E. Merrill Ave. in Fond du Lac. Visitation at the church will be held from 9:00 AM until the time of Mass. Burial in Calvary Cemetery will follow the service.
Mary said “Yes!” to life at each encounter, challenge, or opportunity. When she was 81, she grabbed a rope and swung across a rainforest valley in Ecuador. At 87, she climbed to the top of Mt. Atago. She traveled the world, walked her neighborhood, and paddled her daughters’ kayaks, making and renewing friendships. Mary responded to life’s difficulties and sorrows with openness and compassion. She lived her values and her faith. An extraordinary woman who never spoke badly of anyone, Mary loved with a generosity of spirit that is an inspiration to all who now miss her.
Services are in the care of Uecker-Witt Funeral Home, 524 North Park Avenue, Fond du Lac, WI, 54935. Additional information and guestbook can be found at ueckerwitt.com