Mary Ellen Hartzheim (nee Cummings), died on Wednesday, January 27, at her home in Minocqua, Wisconsin at the age of 93.
She was born August 20, 1927 in Madison, Wisconsin, the daughter of Leo B. Cummings and Helen A. (nee Crosby) Cummings. Her father Leo served in WWI and was a three-year letter winner on the University of Wisconsin varsity football team. Her only sibling, John B. (“Jack”) Cummings was killed in action in France during World War II; his remains were finally recovered and identified in 2018.
Mary Ellen graduated from Cardinal Stritch College in 1949 and married James Hartzheim in 1950 in Juneau, Wisconsin. They lived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany from 1950-53 where Jim served as a dentist in the U.S. Army. They moved to Minocqua in 1953 where Jim began his dental practice and they raised their twelve children. They were faithful parishioners at St. Patrick Catholic Church.
Despite the many demands of being a mother of twelve, she always had a calm, easy going way about her. She encouraged her children to be active and involved and found a way to attend their many athletic events and other extracurricular activities and still put home-cooked meals on the table every day. Her Sunday and holiday dinners will always be a pleasant memory for the family. At one point, you may have enjoyed one of her famous brownies from the dessert menu at Ma Bailey’s Supper Club.
Mary Ellen loved tending to her vegetable garden, flowers and raspberry bushes. She somehow found time to bake, can, sew, knit and delve into the crafts of woodworking and chair caning. She babysat her many grandchildren and could often be seen walking to town for exercise instead of taking the car. She was an eager polka dancer at weddings.
Mary Ellen managed the office of Jim’s dental practice until his retirement in 1990. She then worked at Lakeland Variety store in downtown Minocqua for many years. A lifelong wish was realized when she accompanied two of her daughters on a trip to Ireland.
Aside from an unwavering dedication to her family, Mary Ellen will be most remembered for her very humble and always easygoing personality. Her second nature for nurturing little ones and providing for those around her accompanied her to the end.
A special thank you to Ascension Home Health Hospice team, who gently and kindly took such good care of Mom. Also, a special thank you to Linda, who also cared for her so well; your kindness and good nature will not be forgotten.
Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her husband James (“Doc”) Hartzheim, son John Hartzheim, daughter Mary Hartzheim, brother John (“Jack”) Cummings and parents Leo and Helen Cummings.
She is survived by ten of her children: Mike (Sue) Hartzheim, Tom Hartzheim, Pete (Suzi) Hartzheim, Ann (Jim) Hunt, Margaret Crosby, Jim (Ann Allen) Hartzheim, Jr., Tony Hartzheim, Mark (Traci) Hartzheim, Cathy Hartzheim, Maureen (Lennie) Drewsen; and by many treasured grandchildren.
A private family mass will take place Saturday, January 30th, at Holy Family Church in Woodruff, Wisconsin. A celebration of life is being planned for a later date.
Memorials may be made to HYF Dr. Kate Lakeland Hospice, P.O. Box 770, Woodruff, WI 54568.
Online condolences may be shared at nimsgernfuneral.com
Nimsgern Funeral & Cremation Services of Woodruff is handling the arrangements.