The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Mary Kinney-Kangas


STILLWATER, Minn. - Mary Kinney-Kangas, 87, long-time Hurley, Wis., resident, died peacefully Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at a Minnesota assisted living facility.

Born Dec. 20, 1929, Mary Alice was born in Monroe and grew up on Wisconsin dairy farms, the oldest of Harry and Mildred Burcalow's eight children. She earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Mary's first career job was working as a university Extension home economist in Hurley, teaching sewing, gardening, cooking, home budgeting and furniture re-upholstery to women in Iron County.

Mary soon married her boss, Herb Kinney, and they had three children together. She was a busy volunteer in her community and at the Hurley Presbyterian church. A highlight of every year for her was planning what to grow in her gardens or sew, then winning numerous blue ribbons at the Iron County Fair for her entries. As a 4-H leader, she taught more than 100 girls how to sew.

After Herb died in 1994, Mary completed her studies to become a certified lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church. She served as pastor of a small church in Marenisco, Mich., as well as performed marriages and funerals elsewhere.

When she was 75, she married long-time family friend Sam Kangas, the widower of her dear friend, Erma. Sam and Mary's marriage lasted less than two years before he lost his battle with cancer, but they had lots of laughs with his four daughters and good cribbage games. At age 83, she moved to Minnesota to live with her daughter.

For decades, Mary used her sewing skills to help others, making hospital gowns for premature

babies, quilts for disaster victims, dresses for girls in Africa and accessible clothing for wounded soldiers.

She was an avid reader who loved to travel and had visited most of the 50 states. She especially enjoyed traveling in her later years with family to Grand Cayman for Pirates Week and escaping winter when she could for a few days in Florida. She was a dedicated decades-long volunteer at the Iron County Museum, involved in rug-making. She served as a volunteer cook for the Christian Appalachian Project and earned an award for her outstanding leadership for over four decades with the Iron County Fair. She was a member of Eastern Star.

She is survived by her sons, Walter (Terri) Kinney, of Elmhurst, Ill., and Edward Kinney, of Louisville, Ky .; her daughter, Shari (Tom) Hamilton, of Minneapolis; stepdaughters Pat Kangas, of Hurley, Karen (Paul) Hagemann, of Hurley, Judy Peterson, of Superior, Wis., Kathy (Anne) Kangas, of Dousman, and their families. She has six grandchildren, Alyssa (Nathan) Hamilton Browne and Sierra Hamilton, of Minneapolis, Gavin and Jared Kinney, of Chicago, and Matthew and Eleana Kinney, of Louisville. Mary is survived by sisters, Lucy (Dale) Shampo, of Iron Mountain, Mich., Emily (Don) Henderson, of Sugarland, Texas, and Helen (Heinz) Melzl, of Big Bend, Wis .; brothers Harry (Jan) Burcalow, of Spokane, Wash., and William (Corrine) Burcalow, of Tomahawk, Wis .; and brother-in-law, John Balis, Hertford, N.C .; as well as beloved extended family.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Herbert Kinney and Samuel Kangas; parents; and sisters, Marcia Staton and Marjorie (John) Balis.

A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, Aug. 17, at Martin Schultz Funeral Home, 1234 Madison Street in Lancaster, Wis. Visitation will begin at noon. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery.


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