Mary M. Bisek
November 7, 1932 - November 23, 2019
Mary M. Bisek, age 87, of Belle Plaine, died peacefully with her family at her side on Saturday, November 23, 2019. Mary was born in Lake Mills, Iowa to Edward and Esther (Cation) Syndergaard. She moved to New Prague with her family and graduated from New Prague High School as the senior class president and class valedictorian. She married Clarence J. Bisek on February 14, 1953 at Ft. Riley, Kansas. The couple made their home in New Prague, where they raised their four children. A pioneer for women’s rights, Mary was also the first woman elected to the New Prague School Board and the first woman to serve as Chair of the Board. History was a passion for Mary on both the local and national level; she was a student of Native American culture and an avid researcher of Lewis & Clark. She was a tireless volunteer with the Scott County Historical Society and was a past board member. She was a founding volunteer for the Minnesota Valley Restoration Project (Murphy’s Landing) and was interviewed with KSTP-TV in that capacity.
Mary was a stellar homemaker. She raised a huge garden and was an excellent cook and tremendous baker. She embraced her husband’s Czech heritage and the cuisine that came with it, and learned to cook favorite ethnic dishes. She was noted for her Christmas cookies, which inspired a cookbook published by her daughter. Many will remember the personalized gingerbread men that Mary made during the holiday season. She was a seamstress, making many of her children’s clothes, and made many quilts. While Clarence was living, they enjoyed fishing together.
Mary is survived by her children, Ann Bisek of Olympia, WA, Margaret Bisek of Duluth, Jane Weiers of Minneapolis, Wendy (Steve) Ellman of Belle Plaine; grandchildren, Mac Bisek, Scott (Jen) Babcock, Taylor Babcock, Jordan Weiers, Chloe Weiers, Jessie Ellman, Brandon Ellman; great-grandchildren, Bowen, Emberly, Sophia; brother, John (Nancy) Syndergaard of Shawano, WI. She is preceded in death by her husband, Clarence, on September 22, 2015; parents; brothers, Boysen Syndergaard in infancy, and Larry Syndergaard.
There will be no services. Memorials preferred to Second Harvest Heartland, St. Jude Hospital, and The Salvation Army.