Mary Rae Grundhauser, age 84, of Nampa, Idaho, formerly of Glendive and Billings, Montana, passed away on November 10, 2020, at Veranda Senior Living in Boise, Idaho, surrounded by the love and affection of her children. A celebration of her life will be held May 22, 2021, in Glendive.
Mary Rae was born on October 12, 1936, in Glendive, Montana, to Ray and Maxine Jarding. She was raised and attended school in Glendive, graduating from Dawson County High School in 1954. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert (Grundy) Grundhauser. They started their family in Missoula where 3 children were welcomed. With their youngest only 6 weeks old, they moved back to Glendive where they remained for the next 20 years. Their 4th child completed the family during this time. Mary Rae and Bob celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006 at one of their favorite places, Jackpot, Nevada. Although both in ill health at the time, they were able to celebrate their 60th anniversary just prior to Bob’s passing in 2016.
Both Mary Rae and Bob worked for the Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroads. Mary Rae was a much sought-after secretary/stenographer. Eventually, the railroad uprooted her family when Bob was transferred to Forsyth then to Laurel. Mary Rae accepted a transfer at that time to maintain a home in Billings during these years. After retiring from the railroad, Mary Rae worked as the administrative assistant to the superintendent of the Billings Catholic Schools for 10 years. In 2000, Mary Rae and Bob moved to Boise then to Nampa, Idaho, to be close to their son and daughter. They remained in or around Nampa until their passing.
Mary Rae was an amazing homemaker. Although she worked outside of the home most of her life, she managed to make every holiday special and was amazing in the kitchen. She made the best birthday cakes with delicious frostings. For Christmas, she made and shared trays of fudge, rosettes, spritz cookies and divinity. Holiday dinners were occasions to bring out the best crystal and china. The fancier, the better. And she loved a Christmas tree with tinsel! She spent hours putting every strand of tinsel on her tree and could spot a misplaced piece the minute she walked into the room, something her children loved to test her with.
Mary Rae will always be remembered for her love of music. She played the accordion and was an accomplished pianist. She taught piano lessons and directed the choir at Sacred Heart Church for years. She beamed with pride as she accompanied her son Don; performing regularly in the Glendive community. She also shared a love of tennis with Don. They were able to enjoy watching some of the world’s top pros at Indian Wells, California.
Mary Rae loved to travel. She enjoyed many cruises with her children. Highlights of her adventures were trips to Alaska, New York City, and New Orleans. Later, she and Bob enjoyed catching up with old friends on frequent trips to Jackpot.
No matter where Mary Rae lived, you would always find an amazing display of flowers. She could grow just about anything. Her yards were lined with flower beds and planters. On a warm summer evening, she would spend hours tending to each delicate plant.
Her grandchildren were precious to her. They fondly remember her playing cards and games and preparing special tea parties with marshmallows and chocolate chips.
Mary Rae was a cancer survivor. In 2008, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After beating the odds, dementia from the radiation began to creep in. Although many memories were lost, she continued to spend her days watching tennis, singing, humming, and generally entertaining the staff and residents at the assisted living center where she will be greatly missed. Staff often commented about her social personality and said things like, “She must have been a real firecracker when she was younger!” or “She is quite a spunky lady!”
Mary Rae is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Pete, her son Jim, and her loving husband Bob. She is survived by her children Don (Chris), Rene (Annie), and Debra, as well as, her grandchildren Eric, Nick, Sydney, Kelsey, Nathan, Andrew, and Madi and 5 great-grandchildren. The family recognizes this is a difficult time for many and so would like to encourage random acts of kindness or memorial gifts to your local food banks or other charitable organizations to honor and remember their mother. You may express condolences on the following funeral home websites: nampafuneralhome.com, silhafuneralhomes.com or directly to the family in care of Rene Knapp, 3547 Hartford, Butte, Montana 59701.
I can fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings
Fly high, mom. We love you and will be forever grateful for your life lessons. You are the wind beneath our wings.
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