Mary Straub

June 2, 1930 — April 2, 2018


Mary Caryl Cash Straub passed away April 2, 2018, in her home, surrounded by family, after a 17-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. 


Born in St. Joe, Mo., daughter of John D. and Vernice (Nelson) Cash, she also lived in Omaha; Minneapolis; Toronto, Canada; and Philadelphia.  She graduated from Jenkintown High School, PA, in 1948, and St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN, in 1952, majoring in French and Education. 


During her freshman year at St. Mary’s, she met Joe Straub, a Notre Dame freshman, at a tea dance at St. Mary’s.  They married on August 25, 1951, just before the start of their senior years. She became pregnant with her first child in October, 1951, and that child – Catherine - was born in July, 1952.  Mary probably made history as the first pregnant undergraduate to earn a degree from St. Mary’s. 


While Joe was attending law school at Notre Dame, they lived in Vetville, a village for married students on the Notre Dame campus.  She taught second grade in a new Catholic school located in Roseland, a suburb of South Bend, IN.  When Joe graduated from law school, Mary received a PPTS degree from Notre Dame: “Putting Pop Through School.”  Catherine, Donald, and Mary Ellan were all born in South Bend.


The family moved to Freeport, NY, in 1955 and two more children, Joseph and Lisa, were born in New York before the family moved to Algona, IA, in 1958.  Robert, Peter, Thomas, James, Monica, Patricia, Francis, Edward, and Emily were all born in Algona. She became a member of the Catholic Daughters of America in St. Cecelia’s Parish in Algona and was also active in Democratic politics, eventually becoming a member of the Kossuth County Democratic Central Committee, representing the 3rd precinct. She was active in Garden Club of Algona, as well as a notorious Bridge Club, The East Side Ladies Chowder and Noisemaking Society.  An enthusiastic traveler, she and Joe took many trips to Ireland and other countries, and were once chosen as grand marshals of the Algona St Patrick’s Day parade.  They took their entire family to Ireland in 1998. 


After moving to Whittemore in 1979, Mary was on the Whittemore Public Library Board and St. Michael’s Rosary Society and was a lector and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at Sunday Mass. She chaired the Parish Peace and Justice Committee, served many years on the Board of Directors of Exceptional Opportunities, Burt, IA, the Catholic School Foundation of the Diocese of Sioux City, the diocesan Cursillo movement, and was active in the Kossuth County pro-life movement.  Mary always looked forward to working in the Right to Life booth at the Kossuth Country Fair.  She also attended several county, district, and state Democratic conventions, and served as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1976.  She golfed weekly at the Whittemore Country Club with her foursome, until picking up her golf ball in disgust on the 9th hole, vowing to never golf again.


Mary also taught high school French and English at Lakota and Bishop Garrigan High Schools for a while in the 1970’s, but Joe felt that the most amazing thing she did was find time to read to the preschoolers in the family almost every night before bedtime.  Always a teacher, Mary’s children remember her giving lessons in French and art history while they were doing the dishes. Despite her busy schedule raising 14 children and efficiently managing the Straub household, she attended all her children’s school-related activities and events, while maintaining her commitments to church and community activities. 


Mary is survived by her husband Joe and her children: Cathy (Steve) Jayjack, Don Straub, Mary (Mike LaVelle), Lisa (Randy) Milbrath, Pete (Mely) Straub, Tom (Nancy) Straub, Jim (Kira) Straub, Monica (Joe Kennedy), Pat (Josh Wilkes), Frank, Ed, and Emily (Scott) Guilliatt, as well as 27 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.   She was preceded in death by her parents and by two sons, Joe and Bob.


The family would like to thank Dr. Mike Lampe, the team at Hospice of the Heartland, as well as Becky Simmons, Michelle Bonnstetter, and Ingrid Henry for their compassionate, attentive care. 


A visitation and wake will take place Thursday, April 5, beginning at 4:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s Parish Center in Whittemore.  Mass of Christian Burial will be April 6 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Michael’s Church.  Burial will be at the St. Michael Cemetery in Whittemore.


Donations may be sent to St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD, Hospice of the Heartland, or Bishop Garrigan Schools. 


Kossuth County Advance

14 E. Nebraska St.

Algona, IA 50511  

Phone: (515) 295-3535

Fax: (515) 295-7217

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