MARY GORTER VAN HOFWEGEN was born on June 25, 1928 to Laurens and Antje (Oostra) Gorter in Doon, Iowa. After graduating 8th grade near the very top of a class of all boys, she moved to a farm near Pipestone, MN with her family. She helped her mother care for her older invalid sister, Ruby, and continued to care for others throughout her life.
For the last 80 years, Mary was a member of the Pipestone Christian Reformed Church. Early on, she played the piano, and later taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and was a part of the various women's groups of the church.
She met Dick Van Hofwegen in Colorado Springs where he was stationed in the army. They were married on October 30, 1953. Dick and Mary made their home in Sioux Falls, SD until March 1954 when they relocated to a farm five miles south of Pipestone. In addition to farming and raising 5 children, she had various service jobs. She worked in a toy factory, bakery, various retail stores, as a police radio dispatcher, in physical therapy and served lunch in the local high school before finally retiring in 2012. After retirement, she enjoyed traveling with Dick to Texas and selling their purchases at flea markets and craft shows.
In her own way, Mary was superwoman for her kids. She was strong, kind, gracious, funny, and smart. Loving and caring, with a wry and mischievous smile, she was quick to see that needs and comforts were met. She could do whatever she set her mind to and enjoyed a great variety of activities such as reading, gardening, word smithing, and games. She was a tough competitor and a deft strategist. Her large marble collection was a testament of winnings as a child. She also loved to go fast. As a teenager, her older brothers would challenge their friends to car races with her. She always won.
Mary passed away at the Edgebrook Care Center in Edgerton MN on June 3, 2021 at the age of 92. She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Lawrence (Lois) Van Hofwegen of Castlewood, SD, Connie (Bill) Van Groningen of Hudsonville, MI, Ancerita Sprik of Hardwick, MN, Deedre (Joe) Sorvaag of Houston, TX, Dixon (Lisa) Van Hofwegen of Houston, TX; 13 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren; and many nephews and nieces. She was preceeded in death by her husband of 66 years, Dick; a stillborn son; great grandsons, Denver Post and Gauge Sprik; sisters, Ruby Gorter, Ann Stevens, and Rena Ford; and brothers, Lawrence (Doc) Gorter, John Gorter, Clarence Gorter and Peter Gorter.