In Memory of




Obituary for Mary A. Hummel

Mary Ann (Grondin) Hummel, 75, of Oshkosh, Fall Creek and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, died on Sunday, January 9, 2022, at Evergreen’s Sharehaven Memory Care Home in Oshkosh.

Mary was born on July 16, 1946 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Shirley (Glanville) and Frank Grondin. She was the only girl of four children and 15 years younger than her next oldest brother.
Growing up, Mary’s family lived in a small home not far from Eau Claire’s downtown, and owned a small cottage on Popple Lake in Chippewa County. Summers at the cottage with her family were storybook. The family spent time enjoying the lake, waterskiing, boating and savoring mealtimes together.

It was in her youth that Mary developed a passion for reading. Eventually, her fondness for books, stories, language and learning led her to pursue college and a degree in teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She returned to UW-Eau Claire later in life to pursue her Master’s degree in education, spending a few years working toward the degree, investing most of her journey in summer courses. Mary went on to serve in teaching roles in the Minneapolis suburbs, Eau Claire, Mondovi and, ultimately, Fall Creek, Wisconsin.

When Mary arrived at the Fall Creek School District as a reading and language arts teacher, she met Gary Hummel, a 7th and 8th grade Civics and American Government teacher. They became fast friends, dated, married in 1973, moved to a house in rural Eau Claire and started their family. Surrounded by farms, woods and kind neighbors, there the couple would live for the remainder of their more-than 40 years together.
Mary would teach 6th grade reading and language arts for the majority of her professional career. She poured her personal love of reading into her teaching and lessons, incorporating young-adult novels and other fantasy and age-appropriate historical literature into students’ learning. She was a sought-after mentor and model to student teachers from UW-Eau Claire, and she embraced innovative programs training teachers to integrate richer arts education into their disciplines.

When away from the classroom, Mary cared for her sons, Alex and Adam, and instilled her own love for music, theatre and other arts into their upbringing. She prized the calm and closeness of the holiday season and loved decorating for the holidays and baking.
Mary and Gary retired from teaching in Fall Creek around the turn of the century, each logging approximately 35 years of service. They devoted the second half of their lives together to family, trips, movies, reading and quiet evenings on their screen porch in the summer.

In 2012, Mary was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Each year thereafter continued to bring some erosion of Mary’s memory and thinking. After Gary’s passing in 2014, Mary moved to Oakwood Hills Retirement Community in Eau Claire, where she adjusted to life without her partner and made some incredible friendships, discovered a love of painting and even did some senior fashion modeling at Oakwood Mall.
Over the next three years, Mary’s dementia and Alzheimer's progressed and worsened with the isolation driven by the pandemic. She eventually needed full-time care and, in 2020, moved to Sharehaven Memory Care in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to be closer to her eldest son, Alex, and his wife Brenda. A year later, Adam and his partner, Matthew, moved to Oshkosh to assist with Mary’s emotional care and needs.

The final year of Mary’s life was difficult, full of anxiety, fear, and physical struggles – sadly not uncommon with those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. She found moments of clarity and joy with daily visits from her sons, drives in the country, and Sunday morning coffee with her family and “grandpuppy” Penny.

Mary is survived by her sons Alex (Brenda Haines) Hummel and Adam (Matthew Englund) Hummel of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She will be greatly missed by her cousin Mary Lou Simonson of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, her sister-in-law Julie McMerty of Minneapolis, Minnesota, brother-in-law Steven Hummel of Spooner, Wisconsin, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gary Hummel, her mother and father, Shirley and Frank Grondin, and her brothers Ronald (Sonny), Gaylord, and Sherwood (Buzz).

A celebration of Mary’s life will take place this summer, when it is safe for family and friends to gather, the details of which will be communicated via email and social media.

In lieu of flowers to her family, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Eau Claire County Humane Association.