Mary Korthals

Mary Korthals, age 93, of George, IA died Thursday, August 11, 2022, at the Good Samaritan Society in George, IA.

Memorial service will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 16th at the Lyon County First Presbyterian Church rural George, IA, with Pastor Brian Schafer officiating. Burial will take place prior to the service at 10:00 a.m. for family and friends in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be Monday August 15th with family present from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Jurrens Funeral Home of George.


Mary Ellen Geerdes was born on August 16, 1928, to Ben and Carrie (Willemssen) Geerdes, near Hillsboro, North Dakota. Soon after, the young family returned to rural George, Iowa and Mary attended Wheeler #2 country school and graduated from George High School.  At the age of sixteen, Mary lost her mother (Carrie) suddenly and took on the responsibilities of caring for the home, her father, and younger brother, James.  While Mary was blessed with the help and guidance of many aunts (Carrie’s sisters) and other family during this time, it still required much strength and self-teaching to take on the duties of running a household.  In 1949, her father remarried Louise Bush.

On March 3, 1948, Mary united in marriage with John Gerrit Korthals on her fathers’ farm.  John and Mary were members of the Lyon County 1st Presbyterian Church where she served on Dorcas Society and helped to plan many Sunday School picnics, soup and pie dinners, Missionfests, and funerals.

John and Mary made their home southeast of George, after briefly living in Kanaranzi, Minnesota.  For 73 years, they set the example for what it means to be partners.  Whether it was farming, serving their church, raising a family, or choosing where their next travel adventure would take them; they made the decisions together. While Mary was humble to a fault, her family knows of her many talents.  She was an extremely accomplished seamstress, creating many beautiful outfits and dresses for herself and family. The afghans she knit are treasured by her children and grandchildren. Mary never considered herself a great cook but her family could not get enough of her potato salad, chocolate chip cookies, bran muffins, and Grandma’s corn. Mary loved having family near her and she lived to host family gatherings.  Family and friends knew they would be met with hospitality and love whenever they entered her home. Among her most cherished memories were the ones made on annual family vacations to destinations all over the country.  Mary was an avid sports fan; in particular cheering for her children and grandchildren, the Twins, and Hawkeye basketball.

In a “Grandmother Remembers” book she wrote to her grandchildren, “My deepest values are my faith in the Lord, trusting Him to guide my life. I value traits of honesty, generosity, responsibility, and dependability in myself as well as in my loved ones. I value close family ties. I am most proud of my children as I watched them mature and develop the traits I valued. My prayer is that you will continue to carry on these values.”

Mary looked forward to joining the love of her life, John, in heaven and went to meet her Lord and Savior on August 11, 2022 at the Good Samaritan Society of George.

Mary leaves to cherish her memory her three children; Kerry (John) Pap of Des Moines, Iowa, Rick (Linda) Korthals of George, Iowa, and Robin (Dennis) Wissink of Early, Iowa.  She is also survived by seven grandchildren; Rachel (Adam) Hight of DesMoines, Iowa, Jonathan Rensink of DesMoines, Iowa, Wendy (Michael) Riley of Ames, Iowa, Christy Bovenmyer of Manitou Springs, Colorado, Dan (Jessica) Korthals of Dallas, Texas, Erin (Josh) Mohr of West DesMoines, Iowa, and Molly Wissink of Storm Lake, Iowa; nine great-grandchildren; one brother-in-law, Alfred Korthals of George, Iowa; one sister-in-law, Floy Korthals of George, Iowa, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents and step-mother, her brother, and a great grandson.