Mary Agnes (Engel) Wenrich, 88, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, went to be with the Lord on April 21, 2014.
She was born Jan. 29, 1926, in Hays. She attended Hays High School.
She met Joseph John “Bud” Wenrich in 1947 and they were married on June 20, 1948. In 1954, Mary, Bud and their two oldest sons moved to Pratt, where three additional children were born. Bud preceded her in death on June 29, 1989. Mary remained in Pratt until 2010.
A devout Catholic, Mary loved her Lord and was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. She was actively involved in the Altar Society and Daughters of Isabella. She enjoyed the camaraderie of close friends as well as planning and helping with parish dinners and activities.
To say that Mary loved children was an understatement. She began caring for a dear friend’s child, as a favor, in the early 1960s, and discovered a passion for daycare. Over the next 40-plus years, Mary would care for hundreds of children, retiring at age 81.
God blessed her with a sense of humor and laughter came easily for her. The home was always full of commotion and, even after a long day of caring for children, friends of her own children were always welcome. As her children were growing up, she spent most of her time in the kitchen and loved making homemade rolls, noodles and pastries.
Mary began dancing with her brothers and sisters when she was young. Her children recall that she and Bud seldom missed a Saturday night of dancing at the Elk’s Club. Bud’s father taught her how to fish and it became a favorite pastime. On many a summer night, Mary could be found on the bank of one of her favorite ponds. In her youth, she became an avid bowler and card player. When fall arrived and cooler temperatures prevented her from fishing in the evening, Mary enjoyed bowling or playing bridge several nights a week.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Alois and Caroline (Befort) Engel; brothers, Eugene, Julius, Alvin, Jacob and Victor; and sisters, Irene Stafford and Bernice Cochran.
Five children, David of Topeka, Ronald of Wichita, Susan (Ed) Corriston of Wichita, Thomas (Sherry) of Pratt, and James of Pratt, survive Mary. Other survivors include brothers, Robert (Wilma) Engel, Tulsa, Okla., and Alois Jr. (Ann) Engel of McPherson; sisters, Virginia Swift of Hays and Dorothy (Kerry) Bahl, Pleasanton, Calif.; 11 grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation with the family will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23 at Ayres-Calbeck Mortuary, with a vigil service to follow at 8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 24, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, with the Rev. Floyd E. McKinney officiating.
Memorials may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Church or the Alzheimer’s Association, in care of the mortuary, 115 E. Fourth, Pratt, KS 67124.