Archived Story

A brother’s tribute to his sister [UPDATED]

Published 4:59am Monday, August 12, 2013 Updated 7:06am Monday, August 12, 2013

As many of you know, several thoughts go through a person’s mind after losing a sibling. Such is the case with me after losing my sister, Mary, on July 28.

Mary, 69, lived most of her life in Connecticut where she was a biology teacher.

She was the middle child of us three kids, with Catherine the oldest and me the youngest of the late Roy and Claire Hintgen.

She wrote her own obituary prior to her death. Mary was a modest and reserved person. In this column I want to give her some additional recognition which she well deserves.

Mary was valedictorian in the Fergus Falls High School class of 1962. She went on to graduate from St. Catherine University in St. Paul and received a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.

I appreciated the many comments from those who left messages on the funeral home website.

“In high school Mary was a wonderful presence, academically and musically gifted,” wrote Inez Larson Alfors who lives in Sandy Springs, Ga. “It was a pleasure to share a music stand with her for years. She was always kind, calm, smart and memorable.”

Jane Wright Pasipoularides, who lives in North Carolina, remembers playing flute in the band and orchestra with Mary at Washington Junior High School.

“Mary was always first chair and second chair was me or Marty Swenson,” said Pasipoularides. “I remember her bright smile and easy laugh. What a good nature she had.”

We grew up on the 900 block of West Cavour Avenue, and each of us kids attended McKinley School.

“I always remember fondly Mary and her family while I was growing up next door in Fergus Falls,” said Margaret Heisel Kurth, FFHS class of 1969 who now is a physician and lives in Hopkins. “She was an incredibly bright and caring woman.”

My sister Mary took pride in being a science teacher, joining the staff of Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Conn., in 1971. She retired in 2010.

DHHS Principal Barbara Britton, talking about my sister to the local newspaper, said that Mary was considered the quintessential professional.

“She had the reputation of being a teacher who had high standards for her students, as well as for herself,” said Britton. “Mary volunteered to take on the demanding rigors of implementing the advanced placement biology course. As a highly respected member of the science department, she worked many hours on past and present curriculum revisions and renewals.”

The principal said that my sister was always helpful to her colleagues, especially new teachers, in sharing ideas.

On return visits to Minnesota, Mary and our entire family enjoyed visits to Itasca State Park, the North Shore and spending time at area lakes. These memories comfort me as I think of my sister.


• • •


Over the years I’ve served on several boards of directors, and at the top of the list is the 544 Education Foundation. For me and many other members, it’s a way of giving back to the Fergus Falls public school system.

In simple terms, we raise money to support various educational programs. Examples of grants include donations of iPod Touches for elementary and secondary students, funding mobile computer labs and purchasing a new wheel balancer for the automotive program at Roosevelt Education Center.

I’m especially proud of a scholarship named for two of my classmates from 1966, the late Jill Barnum and the late Tom Blondeau.

We as a board have a goal of signing up 500 new members over the next five years. Fun events include taking part in Otter Pride Night, which will be held this year on Friday, Sept. 13. We also assist with class reunions.

It’s a real joy for me to serve on this board.

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