Marie Hesser of Stillwater, OK, peacefully passed away on May 2, 2021, in the presence of family. Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at the First Christian Church, Stillwater, OK. Service will be available online through the church and also through Strode Funeral Home.
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Marie was born December 14, 1938, in Hasting, NE. She attended primary school in Hastings and completed her bachelor’s degree in Education at Hastings College. Marie was working as a teacher in Hastings when she met Ival C Hesser. They were married September 24, 1960 and had two children, Michael (1961) and Diana (1964).
Marie continued her career in primary education when the family moved to Omaha in 1962. She taught first, second, and third grade students at local area schools, completed her master’s degree in Education in 1969, working continuously until retiring in 1982.
It was during her time in Omaha that Marie began her life-long commitment to and involvement in volunteer programs to meet the needs of the less-fortunate. In Omaha, Marie worked extensively with the First Christian Church and the University of Nebraska – Omaha in programs to provide assistance to international students and refugees. She guided new arrivals through the immigration process, helping them to find housing, clothing, public service support and language instruction.
In 1990 Marie and Ival moved to Stillwater, OK, where Marie continued her philanthropic efforts. She provided leadership to programs at the First Christian Church, taught English as a Second Language classes to international students and their families at Oklahoma State University, and in 2002 co-founded a resale shop known as Elite Repeat. The store contributes 100% of their profit to various agencies in the Stillwater area and since opening has contributed more than $4 million to local charities.
Marie was predeceased by her parents, Jessie and Peter Thomsen, and by two sisters, Katrina Nuland and Margit Haberman.
She is survived by two sisters, Ingrid Peake and Suzanne Newsome, and by her two children, Diana Potter (Greg) and Michael Hesser (Jill), five grandchildren, Jessi Peralta (Matt), Ike Potter (Emmie), Ande Hesser, Erin Hesser, Lene Potter, and one great grandchild, Scarlett Rain Potter
Gifts in memory of Marie Hesser can be made to Elite Repeat or the Family Resource Center at Oklahoma State University.