Mary Ann Stegen

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Mary Ann (Nelsen) Stegen, long-time resident of Strawberry Point, passed away on March 30, 2021, in Lincoln, Neb., of complications from a broken hip incurred in a fall on Dec. 28.


Mary was born in rural Brayton on Feb. 18, 1933. She was the youngest of 11 children born to Nels Christian Nelsen and Katherine Christina (Jensen) Nelsen. Both of her parents had immigrated from Denmark and Mary was very proud of her Danish heritage and shared that with her family. She grew up on the family farm and attended country school in the area.  


Mary graduated from high school in Atlantic in 1950, and then moved to Cedar Falls to attend the Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa). During college, one of her classmates introduced her to Harley “Dean” Stegen.


After graduating in 1952 with her teaching certificate, Mary moved to Elkader, where she taught in Elkader Public Schools. She married Dean on June 18, 1953, in Atlantic, and the young couple made their home on a small farm southeast of Strawberry Point.


Following the birth of their three children, Mary began teaching again and also started going to night school to complete her bachelor’s degree. She received that degree in 1973 from Upper Iowa University in Fayette.


“Mrs. Stegen” spent most of her teaching career in the Edgewood-Colesburg School District. She enjoyed teaching and was always pleased to see her students and their families out in the community. She was a lifelong learner and encouraged others to be as well.


Besides spending time with her family, she enjoyed reading, walking, traveling and writing to family or friends. She enjoyed singing—especially old tunes, hymns or Christmas songs. She was a wonderful cook and baker, much to the delight of Dean and the rest of the family.  


Organizations she belonged to included Pleasant Point Grange, Point Women’s Club and several teachers groups. She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith and was a dedicated church member. She was a founding member of Mission in Christ Lutheran Church.


Most importantly, she was a follower of Jesus Christ. She enjoyed reading her Bible and learning more about Him. She accepted God’s gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus’s death on the cross, and it was her desire for others to know Jesus as their Savior, too. She sincerely cared about other people and faithfully prayed for them.


Left to cherish her memory are her children, Micheal Dean (Sandy) Stegen of Phoenix, Ariz., and Patricia Jo (Kirk) Miller of Nebraska City, Neb.; her sister, Virginia Crozier of Adair; grandchildren, Erik (Lynn) Miller of Lincoln, Neb., Bryan (Halley) Miller of Chino Valley, Ariz., Leslie Miller of Nebraska City, Neb., Anne Stegen and Jesse Stegen, both of Phoenix, Ariz.; great-grandchildren Abraham, Hadassah, Ziesel, Frieda and Aquila Miller, all of Lincoln, Neb.; Lena and Gary Miller of Chino Valley, Ariz.; as well as many nieces and nephews.


She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband H. Dean Stegen and her son Pastor Daniel Stegen, as well as the following brothers, sisters and in-laws: Abbie (Russell) Cozad, Jens Christian Nelsen, Mabel (Henry) Franklin, George (Bonnie) Nelsen, Edna Nelsen Cosgrove, Nels Morris (Helen) Nelsen, Folmer Peter (Dorothea) Nelsen, Norma (Raymond) Winther, Beulah (Gordon) Waldon and Ralph Crozier.


Funeral service will be held  at 11 a.m., on Saturday, April 10, at Mission In Christ Lutheran Church in Strawberry Point, with Pastor Gary Burkhalter officiating. 


Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 9, at Leonard-Muller Funeral Home in Strawberry Point. Friends may also call one hour before services at the church on Saturday morning.


Interment will be at Cass Township Cemetery, Strawberry Point.


Because of COVID-19 concerns, masks are recommended at the funeral home and church.


Memorials may go to Mission in Christ Lutheran Church or the donor’s choice. 


Online condolences may be sent to

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