Surrounded by her loving children, Mary joined God in Heaven on January 17, 2019, just shy of her 94th birthday.
She was born Mary Francis Josephine on February 4, 1925 to Joseph and Margaret Frigge who had come from Nebraska in 1916 to homestead land near Dutton, MT. In 1926 they moved to a farm east of town.
People will remember Mary as the majorette for the Dutton High School band. She loved to share her baton twirling skills – a skill she was still able to perform at her 90th birthday party!
When her brothers left to serve in WWII, Mary worked for her dad on the farm driving truck, tractor and combine. After graduating from Dutton High School in 1943, Mary and a girlfriend spent some time working at “Mother’s Cookies” bakery in Seattle.
On September 23, 1947, Mary married Raymond Van Heel at St. William’s Catholic Church in Dutton. They had five children together. Mary’s kids were always her pride and joy and she lit up every time she spoke of them.
Mary and Ray owned and operated the Club Tavern and Café for many years until his death in March of 1969 from a tragic car accident. Mary spent two months in the hospital and was left to care for her five kids alone. Over the years, Mary worked at the post office, was a cook and waitress at the family business, and helped when needed at the insurance agency and liquor store. She later went to work at the Dutton State Bank for 18 enjoyable years. Persuaded by friends, and for a short stint, Mary also acted as Dutton’s Justice of the Peace. A few comical stories came later with that experience!
In 1977, she married Tom Vine and continued to live in Dutton where they were active in the American Legion and St. William’s Church. Mary eventually became the town historian because of her long years as a resident. She was proud to be a “Duttonite”, having lived there most of her life.
Mary was always the life of the party and last to bed. Many memories were shared of a life well lived and stories and descriptions of things were always told in great detail. Loving music and learning to play piano by ear led her to play in a band called “Mary ‘N Company”. Mary had the best of friends, and always stayed in touch. She loved sending and receiving cards and found some hard to part with - especially her kitty cards! A little bit of a saver, she would read them again years later.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents; sister Frieda Matz; brothers Norbert Frigge and Wilfred Frigge; her husbands, Ray Van Heel and Tom Vine, and stepson Jerry Vine.
She is survived by her children, Lynette Hinkley, Elaine Travis (Steve), Dennis Van Heel (Jackie), Ginny Green (Bill), and Arlene Wollan (Mike); stepson Scott Vine (Heidi); 13 wonderful grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family sends our gratitude to the Grandview for the care mom received, and to those who became part of the family. We also want to express our thanks to the caring Peace Hospice staff.
Memorials can be made to St. Williams Church or the American Legion, both of Dutton.
Mom’s love of her country and faith in God will live on through her family.