Mary Elizabeth (Ottengheime) Tjaden, of Charles City, Iowa, died Saturday, October 3, 2020, at Chautauqua Guest Home, after a courageous eight-year battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). She was 75.
Mary was born July 11, 1945 in Gary, Indiana to Joseph and Betty (Doolittle) Ottengheime. Mary lived in several Midwest towns during her youth, including Brook, Indiana and Arlington Heights, Illinois, where she loved to help in her dad’s bakeries. She particularly relished the task of filling the bismarck donuts with cream, and once sampled an entire pan of hamburger buns by taking a small bite of each one! Mary and her family lived in Charles City during her high school years, where as a member of the graduating class of 1963 she was the inaugural recipient of the Joan Patten Nursing Scholarship, presented by Chautauqua Guest Home. This scholarship paid for Mary’s three-year education at Methodist Hospital School of Nursing, and in 1966 Mary became a Registered Nurse.
Mary’s skills as a nurse benefited many. She held positions in nearly every medical setting, including the emergency room, intensive and critical care units, and hospice care. She served as Nursing Supervisor in several larger Southern California hospitals, which were her most rewarding positions. Mary cared for patients and colleagues in Minnesota, California, Washington, and Iowa.
In 1970, Mary married Ronald Edgbert; to this union were born two children: Jennifer and Jeffrey. Mary enjoyed mothering her children, and passed on to them a love of cooking, her quick sense of humor, and passion for excellence. Mary moved to California in 1980, living and working in Los Angeles and San Diego until 1993.
Mary returned to Charles City, Iowa, in 1993. She and Larry Tjaden were wed December 17, 1994. After this, Mary quickly transitioned to the role of farm wife, handling field meals, raising livestock, and helping where needed with grace, humor, and great love for her family. Mary also became involved in the community, serving at St. John Evangelical Lutheran and Bethany Alliance churches in youth, food, and worship ministries and participating in Bible studies with dear friends. Mary was also an active member of Charles City Singers and Sweet Adelines. Mary enjoyed quilting, cooking, family fishing trips in Canada, her grandchildren, traveling by car and motorcycle with Larry, and her beloved Shih Tzu, Favre.
Mary is survived by her husband of nearly 26 years, Larry Tjaden, of 3223-130th St., Charles City; her children, Jenni (Jon) Read of Mason City, and Jeff (Robyn) Edgbert of Bothell, Washington; stepchildren Deb (Chuck) Stanbro of Newton, Iowa, and Scott (Jenny) Tjaden of Charles City; grandchildren Abigail, Timothy, Emily, and William Read, all of Mason City; Kacey (Seth) Cook of Baltimore, MD, Justin (Jacey) Stanbro of Worthington, IA; Madelyn, Max, and Myles Tjaden, all of Charles City; and three great-grandchildren. Mary is also survived by her siblings, JoEllen Corral, Jon Ottengheime, and Paul Ottengheime, along with several nieces and nephews. Mary was preceded in death by her parents.
Due to Mary’s wishes to donate her body to Mayo Clinic’s Education program, a graveside service will be held at a later date.
A visitation to honor Mary will be held Friday, October 16, 4:30-6:00pm at Hauser Funeral Home, 1205 S. Main Street, Charles City, with a memorial service immediately following. The family asks that visitors adhere to social distancing guidelines and it is expected that all visitors wear appropriate face coverings.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to CurePSP (www.curePSP.org) or MercyOne North Iowa Hospice.
Hauser Weishaar Funeral Home, (641) 228-2323, 1205 South Main Street, Charles City, Iowa 50616 is in charge of local arrangements. Online condolences may be left on the Tribute Wall for the family at www.hauserfh.com.