In Memory of Mary Purdo Peksa ’85

MARY PURDO PEKSA ’85 of Ringle, Wisconsin, died Oct. 17, 2021. At Ripon, she majored in physical education and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi. She received a degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She worked for 30 years in cardiac health and rehabilitation at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. On her hobby farm, she raised sheep, chickens, and yellow Labradors, and tended apple trees, a pumpkin patch, and many gardens. She enjoyed biking, cross-country and downhill skiing, and hiking. She also was a member of golf and curling leagues. She was active in St. Michael’s Catholic Church and enjoyed cooking and baking. Survivors include her husband, JAMES PEKSA ’85; one son; and a brother-in-law, RICHARD PEKSA ’83.

Full obituary:

Mary Martha Peksa (Purdo) passed away on October 17th, 2021, at the age of 58 after a courageous 7 year battle with breast cancer.

Mary Martha Peksa (Purdo) was born in Milwaukee, WI on May 6th, 1963, to parents Edward Dane Purdo and Irene Judith (Szczygiel).  They precede her in death.  Mary was raised in Appleton, WI where her father, a world-renowned metalsmith, taught at the Art Department at Lawrence University.  She graduated from Appleton Xavier Catholic High School in 1981 and went on to Ripon College where she earned a BA in Physical Education.  It was there that she met her future husband, Jim Peksa.  After Ripon Mary attended UW-Oshkosh where she earned a BS in Nursing.  Jim and Mary were united in marriage on June 23, 1990, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Appleton.  Together their life was a beautiful adventure.  They were blessed with son Richard Jacob on August 23, 1993.

Mary worked for 30 years at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, dedicated to Cardiac Health and Rehabilitation.  Her patients and colleagues were her family.  Mary truly lived in the moment and filled every day with happiness, never letting worries of tomorrow distract her from the many joys of today.  After living in Wausau for 10 years she moved with her family to a hobby farm near Ringle in 2000 where she loved raising sheep, chickens, Yellow Labradors, and tending her apple trees, pumpkin patch, and many gardens.  She was passionate about health and lived an active life with her family. She loved the silent sports of biking and cross-country skiing.  She was an avid hiker and trail section owner of the Ice Age Trail for many years.  She was an accomplished downhill skier and genuinely loved her golf and curling leagues where she met some of her dearest friends.  Mary rarely paid attention to the score.  She had a life-long strong faith in her Lord and was active in St. Michael’s Catholic Church where she helped in the kitchen with special events and Lenten Fish Fries for many years.  She was a fabulous cook and baker.  You knew she loved you when she made you a fruit pie from her garden.  She made many, many pies.  Mary had a great appreciation for the fine arts and theater but found real joy in the simplest of things.  Most of all, Mary loved to be with those she loved.  She was a devoted wife and mother, a doting sister, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law, and the most caring friend you could ever have.  No reason was too small for her to gather friends and family around her to share a celebration of any kind with good food, beer, conversation, and togetherness.

She is survived by her husband of 31 years James Alex, son Richard Jacob (Jennifer), sister Melanie Bomier, brother Michael Purdo (Cindy), nieces Alexandra Peksa and Carly Bomier, nephews Ben and Daniel Bomier, mother-in-law Barbara Peksa, sister-in-law Margaret Durkin, Brother-in-law Richard Michael Peksa (Juliette), cousins, and many, many dear and loving friends.

Through her long battle with cancer Mary endured unimaginable pain and uncertainty, and faced it with a resolve to celebrate her life and blessings every day.

The family would like to thank Dr. Chris Peterson and the entire staff at Aspirus Oncology, and all her care-givers, for their tireless care and compassion through Mary’s long battle.  They truly are angels walking among us.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Monday October 25, 2021 at St. Michael Catholic Church, 611 Stark Street, Wausau.  The Rev. Msgr. Mark Pierce and Rev. William Grevatch will concelebrate.  Private interment services will take place at Forestville Cemetery.  Visitation will be Monday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the services at the church.  In lieu of flowers a memorial fund is being established in Mary’s memory to be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home is providing arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at