Mary Bernice Gossen was the 8th child of William Gossen and Marie Elizabeth (Dirckx) Gossen, born on June 11, 1929, on the family farm near Ghent in Lyons County, Minnesota. Mary attended St Edward grade school and graduated from Minneota High School in 1948. Following high school, Mary was united in marriage to Francis (Frank) Janssen at St. Edward Church in Minneota on June 21, 1948. They lived in Minneota during 1948; then Gary, South Dakota, 1949-1951; Montevideo, Minnesota, 1951-1952; Graceville, Minnesota, 1952-1956; Marshall, Minnesota, 1956-1963; Storm Lake, Iowa, 1963-1971; Atlantic, Iowa 1971-1972; and Biggsville, Illinois, 1973-1984. Mary and Frank had seven children. In addition to being a homemaker, Mary enjoyed waitressing at the Cobblestone Inn in Storm Lake and cooking at Hend-Co Hills Country Club in Biggsville. After retiring they traveled the country in a motorhome living in Orlando, Florida, in 1984, and ultimately settled in a 5th wheel trailer in Mission, Texas, from 1985 to 2006. During several of their retirement summers, they moved their 5th wheel up to Uncle Ray’s property on East Battle Lake. After Frank’s passing, Mary returned to her roots in Minnesota, living at Marshall Square Apartments from 2007-2013, then Madison Avenue Apartments in Minneota from 2013 until she departed this world on November 13, 2015. Mary died unexpectantly in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after having had surgery.
Mary was a fabulous cook, loved dancing, fishing, golfing, quilting, playing cards and cheering on the Vikings team. Frank and Mary loved grilling and entertaining friends and relatives, and enjoyed some great vacations together including a Caribbean cruise and snowmobiling in Colorado. Adventurous in life, they took fishing trips for halibut and salmon in Alaska, and even dabbled in skiing and whitewater rafting in their 50’s when visiting Colorado. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” was an outlook that Mary embraced throughout her life. It has been said that Mary and Frank “did a whole lot of living on not much money”. To the delight of her grandchildren, Mary was known for making snowball cookies over the holidays and teaching them how to fish for sunnies at East Battle Lake and Dead Lake in Minnesota. Mary made beautiful quilts for her children and grandchildren, and was excitedly looking forward to meeting her first great grand-daughter in early 2016.
Mary is survived by her children: Nick Janssen of Houston, Texas, Debbie (and Dan) Skeen of Denver, Colorado, Duane (and Tracey) Janssen of Anchorage, Alaska, Scott (and Barbara) Janssen of Gilbert, Arizona, Guy Janssen of Rosiclare, Illinois, and daughter-in-law Kim Janssen of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 10 grandchildren, 2 step-grandchildren, and 7 brothers and sisters, and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Frank, two sons Tom Janssen of Pipestone, Minnesota and Jerry Janssen of Anchorage, Alaska, and 7 brothers and sisters.