Mary M. (Wernke) Root

Mary M. (Wernke) Root

Mary M. (Wernke) Root, age 82, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 5:54 p.m., on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at Bethany Home, surrounded by her loving family. To honor Mary’s life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Ghost Church, 2921 Central Avenue, with Rev. Dwayne J. Thoman officiating. To celebrate Mary’s life, family and friends may visit from 2:00 p.m., until 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Mary was born on September 29, 1936, in Luxemberg, Iowa, daughter of Henry and Ida (Digman) Wernke.

Mary was born and raised in Luxemberg, before eventually moving to Dubuque, and making it her life long home. She was a dedicated employee, who put her time and talents to good use with several places including, The University of Dubuque, as a prep cook, Otten-Bowers Printing and Mailing Company, St. Regis Paper Company, and later as a desk clerk at the Canfield Inn, until her well earned retirement. Mary would be fortunate enough to find love twice in her life, and was first united in marriage to Melvin “Red” Hennings Jr., in 1955, in Dubuque, and later to James Root, on June 28, 1968, in Galena, IL. She enjoyed spending time in the great outdoors, and in her younger days was quite the volleyball player, as well as a member of one of the 1st Women’s Fast-pitch softball teams in Dubuque. Mary also had a great appreciation of music, especially Elvis Presley, and enjoyed getting out on the dance floor, with her brother, Stretch, “cutting a rug” any chance that came their way. In later years, Mary remained active by meeting up with friends at the bowling alley and taking daily walks around town. She was playfully competitive, and always looked forward to playing Euchre and board games with family and friends, being quite proud to hold the title of Undeniable Scrabble Champion. Above all, family was the most important aspect of her life, and Mary had a way about her that always made everyone feel extremely comfortable and loved, and like they were the most important person in the room. We are deeply saddened at the loss of our sweet mom, grandma, great-grandma, sister and friend, but know that she is now free of all of the health challenges she has battled these past months and is reunited with all of her loved ones called home ahead of her.

Those left to cherish Mary’s memory include

her children,
Daniel (Laura) Hennings,
Tammy Durham,
Robert “Bob” Hennings
and Rhonda (Tim) Baule, all of Dubuque, IA;

her 6 grandchildren,
Matthew (Janae) Hennings, Michaela (Nate) Koch, Trace Durham, Ashley Hennings, Sarah Baule and T.J. (Sydney Tran) Baule;

her 3 great-grandchildren,
Cassidy, Ayla and Grady Hennings;

her siblings,
Donald (Helen) Wernke, Dubuque, IA,
Fred “Fritz” (Barbara) Wernke, Solana Beach, CA
and Diane “DeeDee” Hasken, Dubuque, IA;

and a sister-in-law,
Pat Wernke, Dubuque, IA.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents; a very special son-in-law, Joel Durham; 2 brothers John “Stretch” (Mary) Wernke and Hank Wernke; a sister-in-law, Barb Wernke; a brother-in-law, Dave Hasken; and her 2 former husbands, Melvin “Red” Hennings Jr., and James Root.

Mary’s family would like to thank Dr. Sara Loetscher, as well as the outstanding nurses and staff of Mercy Hospital, Bethany Home, and Hospice of Dubuque, for all of their kind, compassionate, and loving care of Mary and her entire family. Also a very special thanks to her son, Bob, for always being there and helping take care of mom allowing her to remain in her home.

Memorials will be accepted by the family to be distributed among her favorite charities.


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Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa
January 15th, 2019 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Funeral Service

Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Ghost Church
2921 Central Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa
January 16th, 2019 at 10:00 AM

2 condolences for Mary M. (Wernke) Root
  1. Sarah says:

    There is no one before you, after you, or concurrent with you. Losing you has been like no other loss in my life, and there is no moving on from it, only healing as much as I am able. Your absence will be felt everywhere I am and for as long as I live.

    To the people who cared for her the most, especially in her final days: there is not enough in the world I could do to thank you, and I know that you’re feeling her absence as deeply as I am, if not more so.

    I love you and I will be looking for signs of you always. Thank you for everything.

  2. Stacie Alejandro says:

    Sending all our love, hugs and condolences from Michigan. We will miss seeing Grandma Mary when we come to visit. You are all in our prayers. Stacie, Brianna, Yesenia, Elysia & PJ Jr.

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