Mardel Theresa (Hassel) Heywood


Mardel Theresa (Hassel) Heywood was born on a farm seven miles east of Graettinger on Dec. 19, 1932, in the midst of the “Great Depression.” She was the only child of Benedict and Mayme (Boecker) Hassel. She passed away on Nov. 7, 2023 at her home in Spirit Lake at the age of 90 surrounded by her family.

A mass of Christian burial took place on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Estherville. Visitation was held from Friday, Nov. 10, 2023 at the church. Burial was at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Estherville.

She began first grade at a country school called “Hoprig Corner” in Graettinger. In second grade, they moved to Gruver where she graduated from high school in a class of 13 students in 1950. During her high school years she played basketball, which she continued to enjoy throughout her life. After high school graduation, she attended Mankato Commercial College. Upon graduation, she secured a job as a secretary for Hill Packing Company in Estherville. Thereafter, she worked at the DEK and Estherville Co-op Creamery.

On Sept. 29, 1956, she married Robert J. Heywood at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Estherville. They resided there for many years while he was owner of Motor Inn, Inc. In 1985, they moved to Okoboji to enjoy semi-retirement.

She was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church while in Estherville, and later a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Spirit Lake. She was a volunteer at Lakes Regional Health Care in Spirit Lake for many years.

She especially enjoyed family holiday get-togethers and family cruises. She loved watching Iowa Hawkeye basketball as well as lunches with her YMCA friends. Reading was a passion, particularly the Wall Street Journal.

She is survived by her four children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren: Jon (Louise) Heywood of Milford, MI and The Villages, FL, granddaughter Natalie of Orlando, FL; Mark (Colette) Heywood, grandson Spencer, all of Spirit Lake; granddaughter Sara of Billings, MT; Cathy (Gary) Cohrs of Spirit Lake, granddaughter Courtney of Sioux Falls, SD; Nancy Heywood, grandchildren David, Steven and Kristen Kilburn all of Lenexa, KS.

She was preceded in death by her husband and parents.

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