Mary Rene (Durant) Pieper of Bloomington, MN passed peacefully in the evening of December 29, 2021 of natural causes with her husband of nearly 75 years at her side. Mary (or "Babe" as she was called when young) was born in Newton Iowa on October 11, 1923 to John and Adelaide Durant. She married Richard “Dick” Pieper in LA, California on January 18, 1947 and together they raised three children.
She is survived by her husband Richard, her son Robert (Lori), her daughter Dr. Christina (Mark) Bigelow, grandchildren Andrew (Heather), Pieper Christian (Lily) Pieper, Robbie Pieper, Dr. Catherine (Bobby) Gribbon, Jonathan (Rachel)Bigelow, and Joseph Bigelow; 9 great grandchildren. She is predeceased by her son Richard, grandchildren Emily and Ryan Pieper, siblings Regan, Andy, Betty, Patty, Juanita, Rafael “Rufy,” Beatrice, infant Rose, Robert “Bruno,” infant Thomas, and Aurora “Jeanne.”
After graduation from Newton High School in 1942 where she was the first ever drum majorette in Iowa’s history, she attended Stanford University and then USC to train in nursing at LA County Hospital as a cadet nurse during WWII. After she and Dick moved back to Iowa for his mortuary science apprenticeships, she worked at St Francis in Grinnell, Methodist and Mercy hospitals in Des Moines and after moving to Minnesota spent a long career at Northwestern Hospital from 1959-1991 (now Abbott Northwestern). She specialized in the OR but also did private duty nursing, ran the SETA program, the education department and when the nurses went on strike in 1984 she took over the ER at Northwestern. She brought triage to the hospital as well as a float pool so nurses could cross train on any medical wards.
She was active at St Richard’s in Richfield where she organized the annual Christmas bazaar, the Legion of Mary, the League of Catholic Women, and numerous bridge clubs. She loved to dance with Richard, and was an excellent bridge player, was known for her collection of hats, her decorating skills and hosting spectacular parties and dinners. She loved fine things and was a stickler for children to learn their manners. She was a voracious reader and enjoyed old authors like de Balzac and Shakespeare.
A visitation is planned for Sunday January 9, 2022 at Gill Brothers Funeral Home, 9947 Lyndale Ave S from 3-5 pm preceded by a rosary at 2:30pm. Her funeral mass will be at Nativity of Mary at 9900 Lyndale Ave S on Monday January 10 at 11am and preceded by a visitation from 10-11am. Interment immediately following at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Poor Clare Sisters, 1001 -14th Street NW, Suite 200, Rochester MN 55901-2525
Masks are required at the services and preference for fully vaccinated and boosted attendees.
We will miss her prayer of blessing as we left her house and telling us she would see us again “God willing.”
"There was a star danced, and under that was I born."
BLOOMINGTON, MN 952 888 7771