Mary Coan Geisler was born the daughter of John and Agnes (Fickbohm) Coan on July 2, 1919, in Perry, and passed from this life June 29 at her rural home near Churdan.
She lived a full life to the age of 100 years, 11 months and 27 days.
Mary’s mother died when Mary was 18 months old and her father could not care for his five children. Mary’s mother’s sisters stepped forward to care for the children and Mary’s aunt, Emily Connelly, and her husband, Patrick, took Mary into their home. They raised Mary and later legally adopted her.
Mary attended country school and graduated from Churdan High School in 1936 at the age of 16. She then attended Cherokee Jr. College and the University of Northern Iowa, receiving a teacher’s certificate. She returned to Churdan and taught in country school during the height of the Great Depression, which left an indelible impression on her.
Her favorite subject was history and she was an avid book reader. It is thought that she had read more than 5,000 books from the Churdan Public Library.
On May 23, 1944, Mary Coan was united in marriage to Edward Geisler Jr. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Eight children were born to this union: Sylvene, Patrick, John, Jerry, Anne, Andy, Daniel and David.
After marriage, Mary semi-retired from full-time teaching but would do substitute teaching. She fully retired in 1955.
Ed and Mary farmed and raised their family in the Churdan area. They moved into Churdan in the early 1970s and Mary enjoyed helping at the Brown Funeral Home, where her assistance was greatly appreciated. They moved back to the family farm in 1988. Ed passed away 1989 and Mary continued to live on the farm until her death.
Mary was a lifelong member of St. Patrick and later St. Columbkille Catholic Churches. Mary joined the Catholic Daughters of America in 1947 and was a member for 83 years. She was also a member of the Rosary Society, 50-year church choir member and taught religious classes for 25 years.
Mary was always thankful for her full life but had many times of great sadness, especially the deaths of four of her children.
She is survived by her children: Patrick (Marice) Geisler; John (Marian) Geisler; Anne (Joe) Minnehan; and Andy Geisler; daughter-in-law Deb Geisler, all of Churdan; 22 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Those who preceded her in death were her parents; husband; children Sylvene, Jerry, Daniel and David; sons-in-law Gary Hatfield and Todd Mount; grandsons Ryan Geisler and Bart Baugh; great-granddaughter Lola Geisler; brother Gene Coan; and three sisters: Dorothy Pitzen, Pauline Brennon and Helene Kopp.
A private family Mass will be held July 2 — Mary’s 101st birthday — at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at Cedar with Father John Gerald officiating.
Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.
Musical selections will be played by organist Lois Last, with Greg Carey serving as cantor. Mary had requested that “Ave Maria” be sung at her funeral. It will be sung by Steve Carey.
Casket bearers will be her grandsons: Jason Hatfield, John Geisler Jr., Greg Geisler, Jerad Mount, Kirk Geisler and Spencer Geisler.
Memorials are suggested to be given to St. Patrick’s Historical Church Fund or the Churdan Public Library.
Brown Funeral Home is assisting the family.