Mary Columbus

Obituary of Mary Kathleen Columbus

Mary Kathleen Columbus, age 59, of St. Paul, formerly of Buffalo and Brooklyn Park, passed away on April 17, 2024 following a 22-year struggle with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Mary was born in Minneapolis and raised in Brooklyn Park, the youngest of six children. After graduating from Park Center High School in 1982, she moved to Denver, Colorado to work as a live-in nanny for a young family. When she returned to Minnesota, she married and had four children, whom she loved dearly. She enjoyed being involved in her children’s lives and being a 'fun mom'.

Mary's journey with her TBI began in early 2002 as a result of a severe car accident. Following her accident, Mary was cared for at HCMC and later Bethesda Hospital, where she relearned how to talk, walk, eat, write, as well as other life skills. It was determined then she would need to be cared for the rest of her life. When Integrity Living Options opened in 2003, Mary was one of their first residents, moving into their newest group home. She received assistance in all day-to-day activities and lived there for the remainder of her life. Over the years, Mary was fortunate to attend adult day programs through Kenny Courage Center and Rise, Inc.

Mary's brain injury brought many challenges physically, mentally and emotionally. It affected her short term memory greatly, and limited her ability to engage in most physical activities. Despite these hardships, she was a fighter and warrior through everything. Her experiences taught those who knew her to appreciate the little things in life and never take anything for granted. We learned how to love, laugh, cry, forgive, have compassion for others and that it's 'okay' to drop a swear word now and then.

As the years moved on, Mary's brain injury brought on additional health battles. Her brain just could no longer keep up with her body. She continued to fight for the next four years until she couldn't fight anymore.

Mary is preceded in death by father and stepmother, Roger and Dorothy Columbus; stepfather, Bill Hurley; sister, Laurie Plante.

Survived by mother, Marion Hurley; children, Lindsay Geurts, Kyle Geurts, Kelcie (Mike) Benjamin, Natalie Geurts (James Frenzel); grandchildren, Logan, Jonathan, Isaiah, Holly, Nicholas; siblings, Pam Columbus & Dave Carlson, Karen & Brad Bolton, Julie & Jeff Lindsholm, Joe Columbus, brother-in-law Dave Plante; many extended family and friends. Mary is further survived by all her friends, housemates and caregivers at Integrity Living Options. You've been a second family to us and to Mary, and your love and support of caring for her the last 20+ years will never be forgotten.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please give a donation to The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance in remembrance of Mary.

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