Mary Andrews (nee Ronk) passed away peacefully on October 26, 2022. Mary began life on December 14, 1950. She was the fourth of nine children and eldest daughter of Ray and Rita Ronk. Growing up in Allouez, Mary attended St. Matthew Grade School and graduated from St. Joseph Academy in 1969.
At an early age, Mary triumphed over two devastating life events that shaped the course of her life. In eighth grade, Mary was hospitalized with rheumatic fever, causing severe damage to her heart. Although she ultimately succumbed to a weakened heart, Mary worked hard and successfully managed her condition living a fulfilling life over the next 57 years. Then, at age 17, Mary lost her mother to cancer. Mary quickly became a mother figure to her four younger siblings.
After meeting in high school, Mary married her first husband, Dan Martin, in 1973, sewing her own wedding dress. Mary’s role as a mother expanded when her son Eric was born in 1976 and son Andy was born in 1978. She taught them how to cook, to be inquisitive, the value of respect, and how to be kind to their future wives.
Hard work was a persistent theme in Mary’s life and a trait she instilled deeply in her sons. Mary began her career in the accounting department at American Can and remained for 20 years through the company’s transition to Fort James. She moved to Paper Converting and later Schneider Logistics where she remained until her retirement in 2016. While working full-time, she was able to cook dinner, attend her sons’ events, and take evening college classes in pursuit of her degree. One of Mary’s proudest achievements was earning her bachelor’s degree in business in 2005 at age 54.
Mary met Graig Andrews in 1996. Graig was her enduring and final love. Married in 1998, Mary and Graig were inseparable and Mary’s motherhood expanded to include step-daughters Alisha and Rochelle. Walking, biking, canoeing, traveling, and other outdoor activities were shared passions with Graig. While Graig taught Mary to appreciate fishing, Mary convinced Graig to attend and run numerous rummage and garage sales. Throughout her life and until her final year, Mary was firmly committed to her goal of walking at least a mile every day—almost always with Graig.
Mary’s spirit was defined by her passion for many hobbies, a never-ending curiosity, and a devotion to volunteering. She loved to plant and maintain beautiful gardens while harvesting vegetables for her renowned cooking and baking. At age 10, Mary received a sewing kit from her mother—sparking Mary’s lifelong passion for sewing and knitting, a skill she passed on to her granddaughters. Even shortly before her passing, Mary continued to share the love of her craft by sewing beautiful locally-sold woolen mittens. When she was not sewing or practicing piano, Mary and Graig volunteered each year at the Bellin Run, were active at the American Legion, and worked at election sites. Mary also volunteered her time helping young children learn to read as an assistant at Doty Elementary School.
Mary most enjoyed spending time with her 8 grandchildren – attending countless sporting events, concerts, and community activities – including special “Grandma Days” taking them shopping or to the rec center. She annually spent “Aunt Mary Day” with her Godson Will and loved time with her “grand-dog” Wrigley. She maintained many great lifelong friends whom she frequently met for breakfast, lunch, and mahjong. Mary was an exceptionally loyal sister. Her family could always count on Mary to attend the celebrations and events of her siblings.
Mary is survived by her husband Graig; sons Eric (Kate) Martin and Andy (Rebekah) Martin; step-daughters Alisha (Nick) Dewey and Rochelle (Tim) Goeltz; grandchildren Bailey (Garrett) Schelter, Kara, Addie, Owynn, Hallie, Henry, Kalyb, and Bradey; twin brother Mark (Tarrie), older brothers Michael (Connie) and Jim (Anna) Ronk, and sisters Laurie (John) Olson, Jeanne (Ken) Calewarts, and Patti (John) Templeton; brother-in-law Darwin (Mary) Andrews Jr., and sisters-in-law Kay (Bob) Prucha, Dawn (Jim) Doubek, and Holly Andrews; aunts Dorothy Umentum, Carole Ann Bishop, and Joan Umentum; Goddaughter Heidi (Dean) Hartman and Godson Will Templeton; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Mary joins her parents, siblings, Julie and Steve, mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ethel and Darwin Andrews Sr., and brother-in-law Dean, in eternal life.
Mary’s family wishes to thank St. Vincent Hospital; Dr. Peter Fergus, Mary’s cardiologist since she was 28, and his nurse Abby; Bellin Fast Lane emergency responders; Dr. Paul Schmitz; and Linda Gorzek, among many, many others, for caring for Mary with compassion and grace, particularly over the last few months.
Visitation to be held on Tuesday, November 1, at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St., Green Bay, from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. with a wake service and sharing of memories at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue on Wednesday from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. at Resurrection Catholic Church, 333 Hilltop, Allouez. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Tom Reynebeau officiating. Consistent with Mary’s wishes, masks are encouraged due to COVID. To send online condolences visit www.prokowall.com.
Memorials in Mary’s name may be made to the American Heart Association.