Mary Ellen Holthaus

Mary Ellen Holthaus, 84, of Decorah, passed away Friday, Jan.

26, 2024, at Barthell Eastern Star Nursing Home in Decorah.

Mass of Christian Burial was set for 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, at St.

Benedict Catholic Church 307 West Main Street, Decorah, with the Rev. Donald

Hertges presiding with burial in the church cemetery.

Visitation was set for Sunday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Helms

Funeral Home, 306 East Water St., Decorah and also after 10 a.m. at the

church Monday morning. 

Mary Ellen was born March 21, 1939, the daughter of Louis and Margaret

(Huber) Elpert in Decorah, Iowa.  She was the oldest of three children and grew

up on the family dairy farm north of Decorah. They milked and showed

registered Brown Swiss and were nationally known for their cattle. This led to

Mary Ellen’s strong allegiance to dairy products – there was no substitute for milk

or butter. 

Mary Ellen attended a one room country school through 8th grade and then

graduated from Decorah High School in 1957. After high school, she began

working at Decorah State Bank. After a couple of years, she moved to the Twin

Cities to work at Marquette National Bank. She made lifelong friends during her

time in Minneapolis.  

She married Willard Holthaus Sept. 4, 1965, and they purchased their

house just south of Decorah, near the fish hatchery, where they would raise their

family and spend over 57 years together. Willard and Mary Ellen welcomed five

children: Michael, Mark, Keith, Stephen and Beth. Mary Ellen was a devoted

wife and mother, doing all household duties and tasks to ensure everything was

well taken care of. She took pride in keeping a tidy yard, beautiful flowers,

meticulously clean home, and neat appearance. Mary Ellen rejoined the work

force when her youngest started school, initially working in the office at

Jennerjohn – Holthaus for several years and then joining the school district and

working in food service before retiring in 2000.  

She was a lifelong member of the St. Benedicts Church, and the Rosary Society.

She was an active volunteer for the church and school. Mary Ellen enjoyed

traveling with Willard and they visited many different places throughout the U.S.

and beyond.  They spent extended time in Florida and Colorado.  She also

enjoyed spending time with her wonderful friend Elaine pursuing additions to

enhance their home decor.     

Mary Ellen’s happiest moments were those spent with family, especially the

grandchildren and great grandchildren. In the later years, they acquired a dog,

Annie, who was a very special companion for Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen was well

known for her homemade food, especially her baked chicken and graham

cracker dessert that was often served when the family was together.   

Mary Ellen is survived by her children: Michael (Sandra) Holthaus, of South Haven,

Minnesota; Mark (Trisha) Holthaus, of Decorah; Keith (Gina) Holthaus, of Decorah;

Stephen (Heather) Holthaus, of Ely, Minnesota, and Beth Holthaus, Plainview, Minnesota; eight

grandchildren: Zoe, Jack, Ben, Blake, Emily, Jared, Lyla and William; three stepgrandchildren: Ashley, Kaitlin and Jake Mohlis and great-grandma to Alex,

Landon and Parker. She is also survived by her sister Judie (Darrell) Westby;

sister-in-law Max (Karl) Klotzbach; sisters-in-law Dodie Elpert, Sharon Huber,

Connie Sande, Sue Holthaus, Elaine Holthaus and Lorraine Holthaus and brothers-in-

law Norb Bullerman, David Holthaus and Dan Schmitt.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Willard; her mother and father;

brother William Elpert; brother James Huber; father-in-law and mother-in-law Raymond

and Hilda Holthaus; brothers-in-law Adrian Holthaus, Ken Holthaus, Ron

Holthaus and Doug Blair, sisters-in-law Judy Bullerman, Inez Schmitt, Jane Blair, Pat

Seiler, nieces Theresa Holthaus and Angela Westby and nephews Philip Blair

and Cory Sande.    

The family would like to extend a heartfelt recognition to family, friends and

providers who were there to support Mary Ellen over the past few years with her

diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Winneshiek County Community

Foundation in care of Willard H. and Mary Ellen S. Holthaus Family Fund or

Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice.

Visit Helms Funeral Home online.


The Calmar Courier

The Calmar Courier
PO Box 507
Calmar, Iowa 52132
Phone: 563-864-3333

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