1946 Mary 2013

Mary Lynn Heinritz

December 29, 1946 — October 9, 2013

Passionate, loyal, deeply loving and most beloved mother, daughter, sister, and friend, Mary Lynn Heinritz died early Wednesday morning from complications related to kidney disease at St. Paul Hospice in Kaukauna. She was 66.

Mary Lynn will forever be remembered for her zany sense of humor, terrific imagination, creative spirit, delightful irreverence, and fierce intelligence. “I always said, 'If you want to know something, ask my sister.' She knows everything,” said Anne Vanden Heuvel, Mary Lynn's younger sister. “And if she doesn't know, she'll make something up and make you believe it.”

“I keep hearing her voice in my head,” said niece Susan Sorenson. “Mostly her laughter, though. I loved her laugh!” Everyone who knew her agreed: she loved to laugh.

Such was Mary Lynn's spirit throughout her life. She never held anything back. She lived – and loved — with every cell in her body. Full speed ahead.

“She was smart, though, most often the smartest person in the room,” remembered former husband John Heinritz. “And no one was ever more sure of herself. If she lost, she would go down fighting.”

Born December 29, 1946 to Mary Louise and Albert Frederick Miller, Mary Lynn enjoyed a joyful childhood among a large and loving extended family in Menominee, Michigan. She relished growing up there, and felt like she owned the town, learning every bit of it by bicycle, and later by sailboat with friends.

Mary Lynn Miller became Mary Lynn Heinritz June 6, 1970, at a bayside ceremony at Henes Park in Menominee. Her mother attended despite it not being a Catholic ceremony; she showed off her famously beautiful legs in a short psychedelic paisley print dress with a plunging neckline; and Menominee Police patrol cars passed the spot frequently, having been advised of a “hippie riot” about to happen in the park. While the wedding deliberately flew in the face of everything she had been taught a sacrament should be, the only riot that day was one of laughter and joy.

Mary Lynn and John headed to San Francisco and began their life of adventure and celebration together. They walked the beach with their beloved black Labrador, Brutus, on sunny days or in fog, discovered Chinese places the tourists never visited, and explored surrounding areas with many day and weekend trips. The San Francisco of the 70s may not have been The Summer of Love, but to them, it was still magical.

“We kept a case of domestic champagne under the butcher block in the kitchen, and two bottles on ice – just in case anything happened to celebrate,” said John Heinritz. “If two weeks went by without anything worth celebrating, we would crack a bottle, and celebrate THAT.”

After moving to Dallas, on November 24, 1976 Mary Lynn gave birth to daughter Marin. “She was our fondest dream come true,” said John Heinritz, “and we were certain she was the most beautiful infant ever to breathe air on earth.”

John and Mary Lynn divorced in 1986, and she carried on, making every sacrifice to give Marin a life in which she wanted for nothing; and she successfully instilled her love of beauty, genuine curiosity, and passion for knowledge in her daughter.

She held various jobs through the years, most notably as a sales assistant at CMP Media and Two Men and a Truck; however, Mary Lynn never defined herself by her professional work. She was a self-educated woman who loved to read and have lively discussions; and she whipped up gourmet meals without recipes as well as created extraordinary ceramics and watercolor paintings. Despite her many talents, she was incredibly modest, and insisted her purpose and greatest achievement in life was daughter Marin.

Mary Lynn followed Marin to Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2002. When faced with the need for risky open-heart surgery in 2009, she said, “I always knew I wasn't going to be a long live-er. I'm paying the price for the life I've lived. I've had a good life. I'm at peace with that.”

In 2010, Mary Lynn moved to Kaukauna to be near her mother, sisters, and their families.

Though she considered herself an atheist, when Marin asked what she thought would happen after she died, Mary Lynn said, “I think I'm going to be an angel and spiritually guide you.”

Mary Lynn is survived by her daughter: Marin L. Heinritz, Kalamazoo, Michigan; her mother: Mary Louise Miller, Appleton; and sisters: Joan E. (Charlie) Miller, Kaukauna; and Anne (Scot) Vanden Heuvel, Kaukauna. She is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

The family will receive visitors on Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm at the Fargo Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Paul Hospice are appreciated. Online condolences can be offered at www.wichmannfargo.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Lynn Heinritz, please visit our flower store.

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