Mary Beth Riesland of Hartford Wisconsin was called home to the Lord on the morning of January 11, 2022.
Born to Alvin and Lorraine (nee Lohr) Neuenschwander on November 8th, 1951. Mary Beth was raised in Hartford, Wisconsin where she was adored by her big sister Carol and big brother Bob and found her life-long friend Mary Lee Rieley(nee Black). Mary Beth’s time in Hartford shaped her commitment to family and friends, her work ethic, many of her hobbies and the cornerstone of her life which was her love of God. Mary Beth was thrilled to return to Hartford in 2016 with a move to Druid Lake. She and her husband of 25 years, Dave Riesland, remodeled Riesland’s Cozy Cottage, while also making time for pontoon rides on their boat Jenny, swimming, floating, kayaking and s’mores at the fire with visitors, family, friends and their grandkids.
Mary Beth always enjoyed being creative. This started in Hartford writing and performing both plays and variety shows with Mary Lee. Her creativity progressed in life as she enjoyed quilting, crafting, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, card making, playing piano, guitar, ukulele, cooking, baking and painting. Many were fortunate to be the recipient of Mary’s creative talents as gifts, but she also used her creative gifts to share God’s love through various children’s music ministries, prayer shawl ministry, and outreach ministry.
While in high school at Wauwatosa West, Mary Beth worked at the Milwaukee Medical Complex for 3 heart surgeons, which resulted in a career calling as a nurse. She earned her Licensed Practical Nurse degree from Kalamazoo Board of Education in 1972, an Associate Degree in Applied Science of Nursing in 1991 from The University of the State of New York and became licensed as a Registered Nurse by the State of Wisconsin in 1992. Mary Beth’s 45 year career in nursing was spent at Pipp Community Hospital in Plainwell, Mich., Hartford Memorial Hospital, Community Memorial in Menomonee Falls, Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn, and Castle Medical Center in Kailua, Hawaii. In 1996 Mary obtained her Parish Nurse Certificate from Concordia University in Mequon, WI. In 1998 she was called by the Lord to start a parish Nurse Ministry at Calvary Community Church in Williams Bay, WI. With 900-1100 parishioners. This ministry utilized her years of nursing knowledge to support families at their toughest moments and also to share God’s love through health and wellness education. In this community she became known simply as “Nurse Mary” by all. Mary was very happy that God provided excellent new leadership for this ministry.
Mary Beth felt very blessed to be introduced to travel as a young girl with trips to Door County, Wisconsin, California & Florida with family. As a mother, she followed this example by loading her three children, Ben, Jeremy and Kristina into the family station wagon to see the United States. She later also recruited her dear friend Mary Thickens and her children on these adventures as well. These two week vacations continue to be the starting point for many great family “stories” and all three of her children continue to have a passion for traveling as a way to both enjoy their time with their families and learn about the world around them. Mary Beth’s life-long friend Mary Lee was a great travel companion as well. The two saw the Bahamas, Maine, Cape Cod, Costa Rica, Spain, England, & South America together—no doubt impacting anyone that encountered them with their love of fun, singing, dancing, and learning about other cultures.
Most notable trips for Mary Beth are the two life changing vacations she’d experience. The first was a vacation to Arizona where she met her husband Dave, who was also visiting Arizona from Long Beach, CA. They had much in common, but mostly a complete admiration of each other. Two years later they were married in 1996 and their adventures continued from there. Visiting England, Germany, Sweden, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Aruba, and Turks & Caicos. But then another life changing trip occurred for Mary Beth and Dave when they visited Hawaii in 2004. They felt they found “their place”. They loved all things Hawaiian: the culture, the food, hiking, rowing, biking, the sunshine & beauty of the islands. Four years after their first visit they made their dreams come true and purchased a condo in Honolulu—a block off the ocean where they built their winter life in Hawaii. Mary Beth worked as a seasonal nurse at a local hospital and Dave continued to “work from home” and now could quickly grab his binoculars for whale watching from their lanai. Most importantly Mary Beth and Dave were blessed with many wonderful friendships built over their years in Hawaii as their winter home.
Mary Beth took great joy in her roles as mother and Aunt but for her nothing beat being a grandma figure to her actual grandchildren, her friends’ grandchildren and her great nieces and nephews. Mary Beth’s love of fun, willingness to play endless hours of games, make endless numbers of special meals, spend endless time in a pool or lake, and engage in all kinds of crafts, make believe and a deep interest and passion for any activity children took on made her a wonderful and very adored Grandma and Aunt Mary.
Because Mary Beth shared God’s love in everything she did and in every role in her life she will be missed but she will continue on through the friends, family and all who have been shaped by this love and kindness.
She is preceded in death by her parents Al and Lorraine Neuenschwander and both of her siblings, Carol Schraufnagel and Robert Neuenschwander.
Mary Beth is survived by her devoted husband, Dave Riesland, her children; son Ben (Sheila) Grannan and their children Sarah and Courtney, son Jeremy (Sarah) Grannan and their children Noah, Matthew, Andrew and Rachel, and daughter Kristina (Rich) Talkowski.
The funeral will be held at Faith Bible Alliance Church W2799 Lehman Rd, Neosho, WI, Monday, January 17, 2022. Visitation from 9am to 11am, service at 11am officiated by Pastor Chuck Cervenka, interment at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Hartford, WI and reception at church will follow the service. Service will also be live streamed. See funeral home website for information.
Due to several of our loved ones having health conditions, Mary Beth has requested all who attend wear masks.
Memorials may be sent to her beloved church communities—Faith Bible Alliance in Neosho, WI or Calvary Community Church in Williams Bay, WI—or to Compassion International
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