Mary Jean Uecke Irvine, 99, passed away July 12, 2022. She was born November 27, 1922, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the only child of John G. F. and Nina M. (Owens) Uecke. She graduated from Oshkosh High School, then attended Oshkosh State Teachers College (now UW-Oshkosh) for two years before transferring to Iowa State College (Iowa State University), where she earned a B.S. in Landscape Architecture. For years afterward she enjoyed reunions with her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters.
She married Alexander Irvine August 19, 1949, at Algoma Blvd. Methodist Church, Oshkosh, where she was a lifelong member. Together they raised six children and she remained a caring, loving mother until the end.
Mary Jean was an active, accomplished equestrienne since receiving her first Morgan horse as a graduation gift, later owning and boarding as many as 90 horses at a time. She and Alex founded Morningside Stables, Ltd. in 1964. She taught horsemanship classes at the stables as a UW-Oshkosh instructor for 21 years. She also taught riding lessons and led riding clubs for decades for local children and adults. For many years she provided horses and instruction to Campfire girls and Girl Scouts at Camps Hiwela and Windego.
She served on the equine advisory board of Lakeshore Technical Institute, and served as the 4-H horse project Key Leader for 23 years. She was a director of the Winnebago County Fair Association for over 15 years, and chaired its finance committee. With Alex she was active in the American Kennel Club, the Fox Valley Horsemen’s Association, the Morgan Horse Association, Badger State Morgan Horse Club, the Wisconsin Horse Council, and the Midwest Horse Fair. Mary Jean received awards for her extensive support of youth locally in 4-H, and nationally in the American Morgan Horse Association for Youth.
She was a successful, strong businesswoman, a nurturing Sunday school teacher, prodigious knitter, sometimes tractor driver, and contract bridge aficionado. A voracious reader of books, magazines, and newspapers, she built a vast collection of horse books. She was a Life member of American Association of University Women, and a docent at Paine Art Center and at the Grand Opera House.
Mary Jean was preceded in death by Alex, her loving husband of 62 years, and son-in-law Glenn Dove. She is survived by six children: Cynthia Mueller, Jacquelyn Dove, Jeffrey (Karen), Alexander (Nancy), Douglas (Debbie), and Bradley (Julie). Mary Jean is further survived by fourteen grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren, as well as her dear first-cousin, Earl Uecke of Wausau, WI.
The funeral service for Mary Jean will take place at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, July 23 at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, 1174 Algoma Boulevard, Oshkosh, with Rev. Cathy Weigand officiating. The family will greet friends at church from 9 A.M. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Mary Jean’s name to Algoma Blvd. U.M.C. Please visit www.seefeldfuneral.com to share condolences online.