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Mary Helen (MacAskill) Thorene

Mary Helen (MacAskill) Thorene

April 23, 1935 - November 19, 2017

Mary Helen (MacAskill) Thorene, born in Duluth on April 23, 1935, died in Duluth on November 19, 2017, after a brief illness. She was the daughter of accomplished parents William Kenneth MacAskill and Dorothy Mayadelle (Peirce). She was preceded in death by her parents; brother Robert MacAskill; her loving husband of forty years, Dr. John F. Thorene; and beloved granddaughter Rebecca (Becky) Perrault Conner. She is survived by children Bill (Sue) Higgins of Duluth; Kim (Wendy) Higgins of Rockford, IL; Ken (Kristine) Higgins of Menominee Falls, WI; Dorie (Wayne) Gilbert of Eagan; Richard (Jo Haubrich) Higgins of Duluth; Karen Saaf of New Hope; John Jr. (Kathy) Thorene, Michael Thorene, Wendy Johnson, Peggy Thorene, and Patti Davey, all of Duluth and Superior; 32 beloved grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren.


Mary was a graduate of Stanbrook Hall. Most recently she served as Lester Park Golf Course manager for many years. She previously managed husband John's thriving dental practice where, it is said, she did everything but drill the teeth.

Circumstances required that she learn at a very young age how to take care of herself and her family while still having fun. Fortunately, she was a person of many talents and a master at virtually every skill she attempted. She was an accomplished golfer, cook, a phenomenal seamstress, quilter, fisher and painter. She once soloed an airplane on a bet. She and John spent ten years building a seaworthy sailboat from keel to mast. She was an avid reader, cribbage player, devoted church volunteer, and loved watching Jeopardy. Family get togethers were boisterous, filled with music, fun, and her traditional oven burn. She was the dog mom of many Boston Terriers, all named Buddy.

Her life was not without challenge. She lost her mother at the tender age of 11, and her father at age 22. Her deep love for John culminated in 10 years of devoted care to the cruel infirmities of Alzheimer's disease.

Husband John, granddaughter Becky, and father William will preside at the joyous and long-awaited reunion of mother and child at her new home. Family and friends left behind will remain inspired by the deep love of a life well lived, and be forever thankful that this most wonderful daughter, mother, grandmother and friend came our way.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 25, 2017, in the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1325 North 45th Avenue East, Duluth, MN 55804, with Pastor Tim Berdahl presiding. A gathering of friends and family will be at the church one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Endowment Fund. Services entrusted Cremation Society of Minnesota, Duluth.