Mary Helen (Halvorsen) Brunner, age 76 of Fridley, passed away on Sunday, October 10th, at White Pine Assisted Living in Fridley, where she resided for the past nine years after suffering a stroke. She was a favorite among staff and will be greatly missed by all.
Mary was born in Red Wing, MN, on February 3rd, 1945, to Willard and Gertrude Halvorsen. She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 55 years, Donald; children: Joni (Chris), Greg (Kim), Karolyn (Mike), Patty (Jason), Kathy (Geoff), Matthew (Clay); and grandchildren: Mason, Maddie, Max, Brianna, Brandi, Abby, Amanda, AJ, Ethan, Sam, and Ava. Mary is also survived by siblings Judy, Dan, Bob, Jimmy (Kay), Martha (Bill), Paula (Charlie), Franny (Al), Patty (Kevin), and Joni (Doug), many nieces and nephews and friends.
Mary grew up in a large and loving family. The third of nine children, she adored her siblings and playing in the bluffs of Red Wing. She graduated from Villa Maria Academy in 1963 and moved to Minneapolis, where she met Donald Brunner. They married on May 14th, 1966, and were blessed with six children. The family resided in the Camden neighborhood of Minneapolis until 1989, when they moved to Fridley.
Drawn to nursing, she attended Miller Hospital, where she completed her LPN degree. She went on to earn her RN degree in 1983 and her BSN in 1999. She worked as an RN at North Memorial Medical Center for 42 years, serving in multiple areas, including CVICU, IV Team, North Air Care, and Criticare. Her passion for patient care and comfort was the catalyst for striking out into business. Together with her dear friend and coworker, Nancy, she founded A.L.S Aerocare, an aeromedical transport company. Together, they built a successful and vibrant business that raised the bar on patient care and comfort among air ambulance services. Mary retired from nursing in 2011 but maintained her interest in A.L.S. Aerocare until her passing. It was evident to everyone how much she enjoyed being a nurse. She touched and saved countless lives throughout her career and inspired others into the nursing profession. She thrived when helping people and was at her best when others were often experiencing their worst moments.
Mary loved spending time with family and friends, especially her grandchildren. She found immense joy at big family gatherings full of laughter (and jokes), where she would always tell a good story and share a meal (and a good cocktail) surrounded by those she held most dear. Mary loved to travel, entertain, cook, read, play bingo, shop, and negotiate a good deal. Her pursuit of a coupon or discount never subsided, even into her later years of limited mobility. Rare was the day that Don didn’t have a surprise box delivered to the front door. If it existed, Mary would have “platinum status” with QVC and HSN!
Mass of Christian Burial to be held on Monday, October 18th at 10:30, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and cemetery in New Brighton. Visitation is one hour before service and interment to follow. A luncheon will follow interment at St. John the Baptist Social Hall. Those not able to go to the gravesite are welcome to enjoy a cocktail until the family returns.
The service will be live-streamed; link to follow. http://youtu.be/la2s5COEmjM or go to www.stjohnnb.com for Facebook link.