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APPLETON—Mary Johanna Buege, 61, of Appleton, died Thursday, March 1, 2018, at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton. She was born in Green Bay on March 20, 1956, daughter of Claude and Barbara “Bobbie” (Van Alstine) Holzem. Mary married Wynn Buege on a very snowy Dec. 30, 1978.

Mary grew up in Sun Prairie, Wis., and graduated from Sun Prairie High School in 1974. In 1978, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in child development and family life from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where she met Wynn. She called her time at Stout “the best time of my life,” which left her children mildly confused, because wasn’t motherhood better than college? Mary worked for the Appleton Area School District since the early ‘90s. Over her secretarial career, she held posts at Edna Ferber Elementary, Appleton West High, and Houdini Elementary schools. Mary usually had a fun story or three to share about her student pals and made many lifelong friends in the school district. Mary loved nature and especially animals. She was a passionate pet owner, and over the years the Buege family included dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, turtles, fish, and more. She relished sharing her love of the natural world with her children and grandchildren. You could count on Mary to identify trees, flowers, and wildlife on any stroll outside. She also loved traveling to Door County with Wynn; treasure hunting at flea markets, rummage sales, and thrift stores; and listening to all kinds of music, especially when her children were performers. She was resourceful, resilient, and taught her loved ones by example to let go and let God. Her family and friends will miss her offbeat sense of humor and wonderful laugh.

Mary is survived by her loving husband of 39 years, Wynn; her children, Erin (Mark) Van Handel, Brianna (Jesten) Neill, and Jacob (Jenna) Buege; her brothers, Peter (Diane) Holzem and Paul (Maureen) Holzem; her grandchildren, Paul and John Van Handel and Graeme and Camden Neill; her father, Claude; her animal companions, Bella, Gabe, Lily, and two happy parakeets; and many cherished friends, neighbors, and colleagues. She was preceded in death by her mother, Bobbie.

Visit the family from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on Friday, March 9, 2018, at ST. THOMAS MORE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1810 N. McDonald St., Appleton. A Mass of Christian burial starts at 11 a.m. with Father James Lucas officiating. Burial is at Riverside Cemetery. The family will establish a memorial in Mary’s name.

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Mary’s family extends a special thank you to ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center, Rennes Health and Rehab Center, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton, and St. Paul Elder Services.

the life of: Buege, Mary J.
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