Mary Catherine Sheehan

Mary Sheehan

Sun Prairie — Mary Catherine Sheehan, age 98, passed away on Sunday, July 17, 2022. Mary was born on a dairy farm in Sun Prairie to Esther (Veith) and Julius Krebs, the third of six children. Her only sister Margaret passed away at age 12 of a ruptured appendix, forever impacting their family and first inspiring Mary’s interest in nursing. Life on the farm with four brothers was busy and exciting. She most enjoyed Sundays when it was typical for the extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins to gather. Mary was a life-long member of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church, St. Anne’s Society, and the Catholic Order of Foresters. She attended grade school and two-year high school at Sacred Hearts School.

In 1940 she transferred to the Sun Prairie High School for her junior and senior years (graduating in 1941). That same year, a young handsome teacher joined the staff at SPHS. Although they did not really know each other then, their paths would cross again years later. As a child Mary was active in the Maple Grove 4-H club, perfecting a champion snickerdoodle recipe with her cousin Ruth, and winning a trip to Chicago to the National 4-H Congress. As a teenager, Mary “peddled” milk with her older brothers Leo and Lloyd for the Krebs Dairy, which led to her life-long fear of dogs. Perhaps the farm was not for her. Her mother, who did not fulfill her own dream of becoming a nurse, encouraged Mary to pursue her education. When deciding where to attend Nursing School, her brother Leo suggested she attend St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Madison. He knew they required students to live on-site, so Mary would not have to live at home and help with farm chores. Mary loved the hands-on training she received and her fellow nurses. She especially enjoyed her time in St. Louis for her training in pediatrics. After graduation from St. Mary’s in 1945, Mary moved to Denver, CO with two of her classmates to work at the University of Colorado Hospital. When her mother became ill, she returned home to care for her and stayed. When her mother recovered, Mary went back to work at St. Mary’s Hospital on the surgical floor.

Soon after this Mary met and began dating Curtis Sheehan who had just returned to Sun Prairie from service in the Navy in WWII to teach at SPHS. Mary and Curtis were married at Sacred Hearts Church in June 1948, and they made Sun Prairie their home in the house that Curt built. She loved Curt and the Sheehan family. Mary took a break from working while their four children were young. She supported her children and husband by attending endless school and sporting events, dance recitals, and concerts. She was an excellent cook and seamstress, making beautiful clothes for her children, countless dance costumes, and dynamite barbie clothes. But she did not really enjoy those tasks. She was happiest when she was at work. She spent many
hours volunteering at Red Cross blood drives or helping family and friends when they were ill. With her youngest son in school, Mary went back to work with Drs. Eugene Nelson and Joseph Syty, at their clinic in downtown Sun Prairie. When Dr. Nelson retired and Dr. Syty moved to the SP Dean Clinic, she went with him and worked as his nurse until her retirement at the age of 70. She enjoyed her fellow nurses and other work colleagues, especially the early days with Laura Tuschen.

In retirement, Mary and Curt enjoyed many years of travel, grandchildren, and good health. After Curt’s passing, Mary had 11 pleasant years at Hyland Park Assisted Living and made new friends there. Mary loved playing bridge and her many bridge partners (starting with Jean Irwin), Packers games with Buck and Honey, ladies’ nights with Mary Mulcahy, great-grandchildren, and her good neighbors and friends. She also was a member of the VFW and American Legion Auxiliaries, St. Mary’s Alumni, and the Nightingale Nurses Group.

Mary is survived by her four children, Dennis (Louise) of Rochester, MN, Margaret (Carl Maguire) of Del Mar, CA, Bette of Middleton, WI, and John of Des Moines, IA; grandchildren, John (Karen Persis) Sheehan, Sarah (Brent Flanagan) Sheehan, Laura (Prem) Padhye, Tom(Elizabeth) Sheehan, AJ (Tana Erikson) Sheehan, and Mary Catherine (Jaden Veach)Sheehan; great-grandchildren Devi Padhye, Hudson Sheehan, Jack Sheehan, Lila Padhye, Connor Flanagan, Jameson Sheehan, and Ava Flanagan; step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Christopher (Angela) Maguire and Jamison and Oliver, Jeanette (Erica Spizz) Maguire and Carl Daniel, Carl Jr. (Jill Nicholls) Maguire and Durete and Patric; and Patrick (Laurel) Maguire and Gabriel and Rosalie; sister-in-law Audrey Krebs, brother-in-law Paul Kaderabek; and many treasured cousins and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Curtis in 2010; her daughter-in-law Amy Overstake Sheehan in 2013; brothers and sisters-in-law Leo (Jean) Krebs, Lloyd (Helen “Bette”) Krebs, Margaret Krebs, Paul (Katharine “Kay”) Krebs, and Robert “John” Krebs; the Sheehan in-laws, and other relatives.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church in Sun Prairie with Reverend Thomas Kelley presiding. A visitation will be held at the church from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., with the Wisconsin Nurses’ Honor Guard 15 minutes prior to the Mass. Burial will be in the Sacred Hearts Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Sacred Hearts Cemetery Fund or to the SSM Health St. Mary’s Foundation. Please share your memories at