My name is Mary Eisenreich and this is my obituary. Unbeknownst to me, on my birth day of September 20, 1946, I was going to be blessed with the most astounding life on earth before going home to heaven on January 19, 2018.
To understand my extraordinary life, you must know my humble beginnings. I was born to Bob and Milly (Arndt) Eisenreich. Bob and Milly sacrificed a great deal for me. In fourth grade, they bought me my first clarinet. We did not have a lot so the cost of this instrument had a huge impact on our life, we did without many things we may have needed. I would sit under the maple tree and play that clarinet day and night. Back then, the dogs were not tied up. Every day I played under that tree, the dogs would join me and howl. I loved that clarinet and as I grew, that instrument would become my life and passion. That sacrifice of my parents started the journey with the love of music.
I was the first of six children; I lived in Seymour, Wisconsin, until I was 18 years old and then I went on with the next chapter in my life. I graduated from Seymour High School in 1964 and went on to college and graduate school. My undergraduate degree was from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with a triple major in music – K-12 in Vocal, Instrumental, and General Music. When I came home from college, I remember playing the guitar and singing for my grandmother and aunts. They told me to give up singing and playing guitar; they said I was horrible. Not just once did they say to give up singing, they continued to say give it up every time they saw me.
Obviously, I chose not listen to my family; I played on and sang louder and ended up with 13 guitars throughout my life. I went on to graduate school. Both degrees were from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. My degrees were in Music Education. I graduated in 1972 and came back to Wisconsin. I gave private lessons for four years and then got a teaching job in the Ashwaubenon School System. One of my fondest memories with my students was the time I asked for their help to recreate the scene from the Titanic movie where Rose was on the bow of the ship with her hands extended. That scene from the movie gave me shivers. I rounded up the ladder from the library, which had a platform at the top. You all know what happened next, I was at the top of the ladder, and hands extended being pushed waiting for the breeze to hit my face. Well my body hit the floor, and the ladder fell on me. So much for the breeze, teaching gave me shivers and great joy. I taught 30 years in the Middle School and during that time, I directed the High School musical for 21 years. I was blessed and had a wonderful career teaching. In the last couple of years, I was blessed to be surrounded by so many students and parents when my health was failing. While I visited Bellin ICU the last couple of years, my students and several friends who had gone into the medical profession would care for my health and pray with my family.
I have a brother, Rick, with his wife, Georgia. They had three girls, Heidi, Katie, and Amanda, with husband, Flo, and darling daughters, Madison and Lillian. I have four sisters, Susan, Jill and husband, Bob, Debbie and husband, Ron, with daughter, Maxine, and Becky with daughter, Lavesa, and wife, Sally. I have cousins and the rest I will meet in heaven – I take that back, I am with them in heaven as you read this.
All my life I participated in music, as a student and then a teacher. I directed church choirs and played keyboard at church. I sang and played my instruments all of my life. Again, God blessed me with a talent that I could share. You all know Heaven will be a bit louder when I join the choir. No, when I take over the director job of that choir.
The next chapter in my life is the things I did musically. I will name them and remember all the wonderful experiences I had; how could one person be so fortunate to live life and be able to teach, sing, and support so many working with music? Here it goes: Girls Scouts, 4-H, 4-H State Choir and Band, Pit Band, Choir Director for various churches, Green Bay City Band, Church Orchestra, Dudley Birder Chorale, Summer Music Theater, UWGB Summer Music Camp Instructor, Green Bay Civic Symphony, Allouez Village Band, Evergreen Theater, Community Theater, Brown County Historical Society, Heritage Players, LLI Choir, Weddings, Funerals, Guitar Player, writer of music, Teacher Of The Year, and the classroom I taught in was named “The Mary Eisenreich Choral Room”. One of my favorite plays I was blessed to be in was “Nunsense”. Playing Mother Superior was a highlight of my performing career; you all remember the clicker, right?
I love my church, Beautiful Savior, and the congregation. I spent a great deal of time as the Music Director, preparing for services and teaching students in the glorious sanctuary of this church. Pastors Leon Ehlert and Mike Pfeifer, your words, love, and support lift me every day. Ann, your support is so appreciated.
The next chapter is all the things I loved to do outside the realm of music: canning, reading, Sudoku, Panda Pop, golfing, gardening, teaching and attending LLI classes, sitting outside with my Crow’s Nest family, eating, and laughing. Most of all, I love to sing and write music. My musical is not yet complete but I am sure Kristin and Sara Rose will finish for me.
As far as great friends, I am abundantly blessed. Carolyn and Dan Bodden, there are no words that could reflect the love I have for you. Judy Hollmaier, always steadfast and such support in your friendship, your heart is sweet. Jane and Carl (McKenna and Alex), we live life to the fullest. Jane, you made me look like a million bucks every two weeks for 39 years. Sara Rose, keep singing and being an inspiration; your friendship fills my life with great joy. Jack and Joan, your visits and gardening takes me back to our younger days. Brent Hussin, the years and laughs are many; times at dinners and plays, life is grand. Kay and Keith Welke – Allison ( Kristin and TJ Welke), lifetime family that was not blood, you fill my heart with blessings. Kristin, keep playing; you make me a better clarinet player and you are my teacher, student, and great friend. Kristin, when we play together I always think I am back under that maple tree. My Crow’s Nest family, you keep me going. Everyone in my life, so many to name, grateful seems inadequate to thank you for this extraordinary life. Thanks for the joys we experience every day.
My family will make sure that a Marybratin (aka - a celebration of my life) is held.
I cannot wait to see all of you in one place.
Well, the time has come to close this chapter here on earth. I am excited to see all who went before me. I had a wonderful life and I hope I was a person who helped other people. It is not goodbye it is see you later. TTFN.
From the family: Mary left this earth peacefully, surrounded by family being sung her favorite songs by her niece, Lavesa. We want to thank Mary’s friends, church, and community for the outpouring of love and memories shared during this time. Special thanks to Bellin Hospital ICU, Doctors Davis and Kanwar, Jeris, Paul, and the other staff for taking care of Mary during the last two and a half years. To St. Vincent ICU, Dr. Alshahroiri, ICU nurses Nancy and Bridget; you were all so compassionate and dedicated to Mary’s care and her family during this difficult time. We will be celebrating Mary’s life in a memorial service to be held in May 2018.