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Obituary for Mary Evelyn Herber

Mary Evelyn Herber, 91, of La Crosse passed away peacefully Monday, March 25, 2019, at her home in La Crosse. Mary was born January 9, 1928, in Caledonia, Minnesota to Melvin and Georgina (Hjellming) Haugstad. Mary attended grade school and high school in Caledonia, Minn. Mary later moved to La Crosse’s northside, where she lived for more than 70 years. She worked outside the home most of her life, in retail sales, as a factory worker at the Electric Autolite, as a nursing assistant at Grandview and St. Francis hospitals, as a cleaner of commercial properties and residences, and as a census enumerator in two Census counts. She liked to express her opinions on local, state, and national politics, believed in democracy, and was proud of her long-time service as an election poll worker stationed at Roosevelt Elementary School. Over the years, Mary was active in or financially supported a number of civic and other organizations including Causeway, Moose Lodge, VFW Auxiliary, and St. James the Less Catholic Church. She patiently taught valuable lessons as a den mother for Cub Scouts. She regularly toted kids to Catholic education classes and other activities. Mary adored all children and in recent years looked forward to hosting an annual Easter egg hunt she held at her home that involved hiding more eggs than anyone could count (or find). Mary’s devotion to her family and friends was unsinkable. If a helping hand was needed, Mary was there to extend hers. She was petite yet strong and had an iron will that could outlast those half her age. She was always on the move: mowing, shoveling, weeding, gardening—she could be seen hoisting rocks, pushing wheelbarrows, and standing on ladders and roofs into her late 80s. To say she could occasionally be headstrong would be a great understatement. But Mary was also fun-loving: she loved a good polka or waltz and occasionally enjoyed a casino trip with friends or family. Her strawberry jam, apple pies, and pickled beets were delicious and legendary. She inspired many with her spunk and initiative, such as when she learned to swim in her late 40s and when she earned her GED in her 50s. Mary is survived by her brother, Robert (Catherine) Haugstad, of Wellington, Florida; five children, Judy (Steve) Anderson of Loudon, Tennessee, JayNe Johnson of Onalaska, Butch (Pat Dennison) Johnson of Trempealeau, William (Teri) Herber of La Crosse, Dan (Carrie) Herber of Minneapolis; daughter-in-law Barb Johnson of Madison; grandchildren, David Todd (Lisa), Jennifer (Mark), Stefanie (Clay), Tilli, Samuel, Scott, Josh, Erin, Evelynne, Elsie, and Otto; great-grandchildren, Alisha, Rachael, Griffin, Dillon, Nolan, Shelby, and A.J.; and many special nieces and nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her first husband Carroll Johnson; husband William Herber; sisters Lorraine and Kathleen; and son David and infant son Michael. Special thanks to Mary’s nieces Sheri Meyer and Lori Voves, and to Sonia Herber for their love and devotion in caring for Mary over the past two years. Pursuant to Mary’s wishes, no funeral services will be held. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home and Crematory, Woodruff Chapel, La Crosse is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent and a full obituary found at A celebration of Mary’s life will be held later this year. In lieu of flowers or other memorials, hug your mom and other loved ones (often) and volunteer regularly with a favorite charity of your choice.