Mary Jane Baalrud (McCarragher)

Feb. 18, 1922 Dec. 30, 2014

Mary Jane Baalrud nee McCarragherMary Jane Baalrud of Waukesha passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 30, 2014, at the age of 92. Mary lived a long, wonderful life and loved a few basic things: God, family, the Green Bay Packers, teaching, politics and being Irish.

Mary was born on February 18, 1922, in Superior, the daughter of Joseph and Jane Ward. She attended Superior State Teachers College and then taught in Marshfield for three years before teaching first and second grades in the Waukesha public school system for 33 years. Over those many years, she taught hundreds of Waukesha children at several elementary schools, including Northview and Saratoga schools.

Mary was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, a member of the Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association in Waukesha, an auxiliary member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and a former member of St. Mary Christian Ladies.

Mary was married for more than 24 years to her first husband, Ambrose “Amby” McCarragher (1948-1973), and 28 years to her second husband, Jerry Baalrud (1979-2007). She will be dearly missed by her loving family and many friends, including her children, Bridget Tietz of Sullivan and Ward (Marie) McCarragher of Chevy Chase, Md.; sister, Winifred McKenzie; brother, Joseph (Marion) Ward; sons-in law, Patrick Hayes and Gary Bennett; grandchildren, Christopher (Gena) Hayes, Brandon (Michelle) Hayes, Kirsten (Luis) Bennett de Murgas, Kara (Paul) Bennett-Boehm, Erick (Rebecca) Bennett, and Ryan, Colin, and Megan McCarragher; her seven great grandchildren; and her best friend, Peg Frederickson.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Amby McCarragher and Jerry Baalrud; stepdaughters, Sue Hayes and Karen Baalrud; and brother William Ward.

Mary lived a life of commitment and generosity. She most valued her family and friends and had a gift for connecting with people, both young and old, and sharing stories. One of the highlights of her life was a trip to Ireland with her family in 1978.

The visitation celebrating Mary’s life will be held on Friday, January 16, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the 12:30 p.m. memorial Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church, 225 S. Hartwell Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186. Burial will immediately follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Waukesha.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Mary’s name are appreciated to the Wisconsin Chapter of the March of Dimes, 5215 N. Ironwood Road, Suite 101, Milwaukee, WI 53217; or the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.

Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-Planning Services is serving the family. For further information, please call 262-542-6609, or for directions, an online obituary, or to leave a condolence, please visit www.WaukeshasFuneralHome.com.