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Mary Lee Bleser (nee Heise)

07/27/1950 - 12/04/2020
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On Friday, December 4, 2020, Mary Lee Bleser (nee Heise), aged 70, of Butte des Morts, became the newest soul in heaven. Born on July 27, 1950, in Oshkosh, she was the daughter of the late Carl C. and Patricia K. (Hopp) Heise. On August 28, 1975 she married her husband of 45 years, Albert Earl Bleser.

She grew up on the Carl Heise family farm on Heise Road in Omro - named after her grandparents and seven of her aunts and uncles who all had adjacent farms along the road. Mary, her older sister Barb, and younger brother Mark, shared many adventures and learned the importance of a strong work ethic from early on. Mary graduated from Omro High School in 1968. She worked for the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh as an administrative assistant for her entire career, retiring in 2017 after 43 years of service. She worked in the Criminal Justice, Public Affairs & Urban Studies department for many years before transferring to the Psychology department. She also enjoyed her time working for the Broadway 41 project at the university, bringing in professional speakers and entertainers from around the country. She was a well-known fixture on campus, beloved by many. She also supported her husband in his many self-employment business ventures over the years, most recently as an officer at Fox Tax in Oshkosh.

She always enjoyed music, and Christian music in particular. She started taking organ lessons when she was 13 years old, and was playing in church by the time she was 16. She also enjoyed singing and performing with the church choir in her early years. She was known for always having her favorite music playing at work or wherever she was. This not only kept her own spirits high, but was an encouragement to those around her. She was also a lifelong lover of the performing arts and a current season ticket holder with her daughter at the Performing Art Center in Appleton. She enjoyed traveling with her family and loved ones to attend concerts and events - from a Barry Manilow concert with her sister to “The Phantom of the Opera” with her daughter’s high school youth group, she was always up for an evening of arts and entertainment.

Mary deeply loved her Lord and was a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church, having grown up in the Lutheran church in Omro where she was baptized on August 20, 1950 and confirmed on June 17, 1962. She continued to be actively involved playing the organ and volunteering at church wherever needed. For the last 25 years, she was a member of New Hope Lutheran Church in Neenah, WI, where she also happily volunteered wherever she was needed- most often helping with the children’s ministry on weekends and New Hope Christian School during the week. She had a very special place in her heart for her New Hope family and friends.

She was an accomplished crocheter and knitter and was known to whip up any request from blankets and socks, to sweaters for penguins in Antarctica. Mary inherited her mother’s love for cooking, gardening, and sewing. Her sewing kit was always handy, and she would happily mend the many items her family regularly brought her. Also, she could often be found outside planting flowers around her home or harvesting cherries from the family tree to make her famous cherry pie. She was a master chef in her own kitchen as well, utilizing fresh ingredients from her brother’s farm, including hand-picked sweet corn and an annual half cow that fed the family for a year. Her family (and often the neighborhood kids) was known to show up as she was pulling a hot dish out of the oven, and her table was always full.

Mary also enjoyed traveling. She spent many summers in Thailand with her daughter, Heidi, son-in-law, and grandchildren. She enjoyed visiting Maine with her daughter, Rebecca, and son-in-law. She enjoyed regular visits to the family cabin in the Upper Peninsula where she was able to spend time with Jonathan and all of the grandchildren, especially Marcus, who enjoys the outdoors. She excitedly flew across the country for her grandson Dakota’s Marine Corps graduation, and she didn’t shy away from a road trip, most recently enjoying a trip to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky with her daughter, Jody and her family.

Mary loved her family (especially her grandchildren), and her friends. In January 1975 she started dating Al, the love of her life, and they married just seven months later and enjoyed an old-fashioned chivalry celebration. They first met in November 1974 in a co-ed volleyball league, and they also enjoyed square dancing and annual ski trips to Aspen in their early years together.

The love and generosity she showered upon everyone will live on through us all. She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Albert Bleser, of Butte des Morts; four children and their families: Jonathan (Bobbie Jo) Bleser, of Green Bay, and children, Rhya, Kealey, and Carson Bleser; Heidi (Thanongsak) Tannarat, of Bangkok, and children, Timmy, Rose, and Lily Tannarat; Jody (Craig) Kell, of Winchester, and children, Marcus and Dakota Bleser, Oliver and Sylvia Kell; Rebecca (Nate) Chute, of Butte des Morts. She is also survived by a sister, Barbara (Jim) Kolb, of Omro; a brother, Mark (Marilyn) Heise, of Omro; and nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Mary will be missed and forever remembered by family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and the special charities where she selflessly gave her time, for the sparkle in her eyes, and a heart full of compassion - with a deep love and caring for all those she touched. Mary would seldom complain and was always eager to share her joy by helping others. She was always ready to sacrifice with little thought of herself, which made her contributions and support foundational for all of those she helped.

The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at St. Elizabeth hospital in Appleton for their compassionate care.

A visitation for family and friends will be on Saturday, December 12, 2020, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at New Hope Lutheran Church, 1850 American Dr., Neenah, followed by a funeral service at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Jeff Prewitt officiating. Friends and family are welcome to stay for a meal and fellowship in celebration of Mary’s life after the service. For those who are unable to attend, online streaming will be available at newhopeconnect.org. The service will also be recorded and available on demand at www.newhopeconnect.org. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Manitowoc. Mueller Funeral Home - Winneconne is assisting the family with arrangements.

Memorials in Mary’s name may be made to: Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation - Thailand at www.cwefthailand.org/donate or directly to New Hope Lutheran Church. Please note in memory of Mary Bleser.

Online condolences may be shared at www.muellerfh.net. 

Marv Kuhlman wrote on December 18, 2020
My sympathy and prayers to Al and the entire family. Mary was always a good friend and I always enjoyed visiting with her on Monday mornings at New Hope. Thank you for sharing the online memorial service.

Tammy Kempf wrote on December 12, 2020
Al & family,My deepest heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your lovely wife/mother. I know there will never be words to help relieve the grief you must be feeling. Know you will always have your wife/mother to watch over you as she has for so many wonderful years. Thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Craig Maher wrote on December 12, 2020
I worked with Mary when I was UWO. I adored her - she always had a smile on her face and was always there to help. I remember how much her family meant to her and I remember the joy she expressed when my children were born. Mary will always have a place in my heart. My condolences to her family.

Ian Livingstone Route 11 wrote on December 9, 2020
I didn't personally know Mrs. Bleser but I saw her and her walking partner going Down Washington St during my morning bus route. I knew I was on time when I saw them. I miss her wave and smile.

Pastor Norman and Nadene Schell wrote on December 8, 2020
Our loss is Heaven's gain. We have many fond memories of Mary from our days in the Omro and Oshkosh area. While she will be missed by those of us left behind, she has received the Heavenly reward won for her by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jodi Anthony wrote on December 7, 2020
Dear Family: My thoughts are with you all. I met Mary through a monthly luncheon gathering we had at UW Oshkosh for some staff that worked at the Halsey Science building. She has the most wonderful soul and caring nature. I so appreciated her stories of travel and gentle spirit. Blessings to you all.

Christie A Nelson wrote on December 6, 2020
Dear Heidi and all immediate family members as well as relatives wherever you are located, Reading your mom's obituary has brought tears to my eyes and a heart filled with joy, amazement, and awe. Your mother was so richly blessed with gifts and talents from our Lord and how incredibly she used them throughout her lifetime. Just by reading about her, I know she's the kind of person with whom it would feel like home simply by being in her presence. What a wonderful woman she was so full of love for everyone and such a heart of zeal and excitement for everything and everyone around her. Such a dynamo and dynamic woman are not common, and you have quite the gem for a mom! I know now why you, Heidi, are such a marvel to me in all you are able to do and all the gifts and skills that you have. As my own mom used to say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." And what a magnificent tree she was, and how proud your mom must be that all of her apples have had their seeds planted and dropping apples of their own! Can't think of anything more joyful! She's in heaven awaiting all of you and how glorious was her reunion must be with all her family members who have gone before her and how glorious it will be when the Lord calls each of you to your heavenly, too! What music and dancing there is now and what music and dancing there will be! I praise God for you, Heidi, and am truly blessed simply by reading about your mom. God give you peace in your heart regarding all things regarding you, your mom, your family, and everyone near and dear to you. Sending you all my love and keeping you and all your family in my prayers.

Cindy & Kym Asen wrote on December 6, 2020
Our sympathies to your entire family for your loss. I will always remember Mary Lee in school as being a very kind and genuinely nice person.

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