Mary Ann Dolven, 84, of Idaho Falls, passed away October 13, 2020, at MorningStar Senior Living Center.
Mary was born October 2, 1936, in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Leonard Isadore Utschig and Dorothy Mae Utschig. She grew up in Appleton and went on to attend Lawrence University for her undergraduate degree and continued on to the University of Florida to obtain her Masters of Education in Counseling. On June 24, 1967, she married Lyle Martin Dolven. They were blessed with two children, Jeff and Andrea. Mary and Lyle made their home in Idaho Falls, where she was a faithful member of the St. John Paul II Catholic Community.
Mary loved people and enjoyed helping them. She was a loyal and generous friend. Mary was passionate about her family and always looked forward to the next gathering. Mary treasured time spent laughing and giggling with her siblings. Mary loved adventure and mischief and could be found wherever fun activities were happening. One of Mary's great talents was planning those adventures! Mary had a true zest for life. When she wasn't at home, Mary could be found on the golf course or in the amazing outdoor beauty of Idaho. She loved hiking, cross country skiing and just being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. She also spent countless hours taking grandchildren on stroller rides or leading them on nature walks.
Mary was a guidance counselor at Rocky Mountain Middle School in Bonneville School District 93. This job was a perfect fit, blending her passion for organization with her desire to help people find their path in life. Mary had a true gift for helping people successfully navigate the murky waters of the middle school experience. Mary loved making connections with people and she treasured the friendships she made at Rocky Mountain Middle School. She cherished the times she spent with her work family, whether it was walking before school for exercise, making a mad dash to get ice cream cones after school, or encouraging them to accompany her on extracurricular hikes in the Idaho wilderness.
After she retired, Mary stayed active in the Idaho Falls community. She volunteered in the St. John Paul II Catholic Church, the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen, and as a docent in the Museum of Idaho. Mary also spent countless hours sharing her love of the outdoors with others. She completed the Idaho Master Naturalist training and never hesitated to share her knowledge of Idaho’s wilderness with others. Mary volunteered at Mesa Falls Visitors Center, where she delighted in sharing her knowledge of the area. Mary was especially passionate about promoting the beauty and wildlife present at the Camas National Wildlife Refuge. In particular, she wanted children to be able to experience the joy of being outside. Mary was incredibly proud to testify before the United States Congress about the importance of connecting children with nature.
Most of all, Mary was a whole lot of fun! She could make even the most mundane activity into a game and lightened the mood with her infectious humor. She had a lifelong love for sweets and was a talented baker. Mary was never afraid to eat dessert before her dinner.
Mary is survived by her loving husband, Lyle; children, Jeff (Rachel) Dolven of Gig Harbor, WA, and Andrea (Brian) McCourt of Lubbock, TX; sisters, Patricia McCoy of New London, WI, and Barbara Brown of Green Bay, WI; brothers, David (Julie) Utschig of Colorado Springs, CO, Jeffery (Melissa) Utschig of Ellison Bay, WI, and Thomas (Anne) Utschig of Eau Claire, WI; and 5 grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Dorothy; a sister, Gloria Bego, and a grandson, Donovan McCourt.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, October 24, 2020, at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1690 E. 17th Street. The Mass will be Live Streamed through son Jeff’s Facebook account. A Rosary will be held Friday at 6:00 p.m. at Wood Funeral Home, 273 N. Ridge Avenue, with a visitation to follow until 7:30 p.m. Burial will be in the St. Mary Parish Cemetery in Appleton, Wisconsin.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Holy Rosary School Foundation, https://www.holyrosaryschoolif.org/hrsef.html, or the Friends of Camas, http://www.friendsofcamas.org.
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