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Mary A. Goertz

Celebrates Centennial Birthday

Mary A. GoertzMary A. Goertz celebrated a milestone in her life this weekend. A large number of her 144-member family attended. She will be 100 years old on December 18. She has the distinction of being the oldest living person in the Rockne community. She has endeared herself to many friends with her keen mind and joyful spirit.

Mary, the fourth of twelve children born to Joseph and Mary Hoffman Kadura on a farm near Red Rock, learned about hard work at an early age. The day she turned 14, she was taken out of school to help her dad cut wood with a crosscut. She fixed fences and did the farm chores. She also was the barber in the family, cutting her younger sisters’ and brothers’ hair.

At the age of 16, Mary went to work at Newman Hall in Austin, a boarding school for Catholic girls. She worked as a waitress and a cook for 75 students, 6 nuns and 6 priests. “I loved living at Newman Hall and going to Mass every day,” She said.

Mary taught herself to play the harmonica at the age of 4 and has continued playing all her life. Another talent that seemed to come easily was sewing. She became the seamstress for the big family and sewed everything from wedding dresses to bloomers.

She married her sweetheart, Fred Goertz, on November 23, 1931. Together they had 15 children. Mary said, “How did we make it, you might wonder. I always felt like we lived in a house brim full of love and understanding. I tried to keep a warm heart and willing hands. I just took it a little at a time--it just so happens I got to do that a long time, and still am with the help and guidance of the good Lord.”

Mrs. Goertz is a charter member of RHA and has supported the annual fundraising auction every year with a crocheted Afghan. Her beautiful handwork, of many colors, is a sought after item treasured by the highest bidders.