Mary Helen Whiteley Degner, 82, Dysart, died on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at Sunnycrest Nursing Center in Dysart. A visitaion was held on Sunday, July 10, 2011 from 4-7 p.m. at Dysart United Methodist Church, Dysart. A memorial service was held on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. at Dysart United Methodist Church, Dysart. Internment was at Dysart Cemetery, Dysart.
Mary Helen Whiteley Degner was born February 19, 1929, in Lewis County, Missouri, the daughter of Glen, Sr., and Florence (Bennett) Whiteley. When she was a small child, her family moved to southeast Iowa. Mary received her education in one-room schools in Louisa and Muscatine counties and she graduated from Muscatine High School with the class of 1947. She graduated with a B.A. from Iowa State Teachers College in 1951, then continued her education and received a M.A. in Library Science at the University of Northern Iowa in 1971.
Mary was united in marriage to Robert Degner on June 19, 1955, at the Dysart EUB Church. She taught English at Jesup, Jefferson, Dysart and Geneseo. For many years, Mary taught Language Arts and was the Librarian in the junior high school and high school at Dysart-Geneseo. She enjoyed traveling, cats, reading, flowers, and she loved her family dearly. Mary collected antiques, especially antique hatpins and holders. She was a member of the American Hatpin Society. She was an active member at the Dysart United Methodist Church and served in many positions. She helped for many years keeping the membership records. Mary was active in the UMC Women serving as president and treasurer. She was also a member of the Rebekah Circle. Mary was a member of the Alpha Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma (Educators Society). She was a member of Take Time, a division of the Dysart Women's Club and served as the president of the Dysart Women's Club.
Mary's death came on Thursday, July 07, 2011, at the Sunnycrest Nursing Center at the age of 82. She is preceded in death by her parents; an older brother Thomas in infancy, a brother Dr. Frank C. Whiteley and a son Todd Robert Degner on May 26, 2001. Mary is survived by her husband; one daughter Hope (Steve) Hix, Hannah, and Owen of Dysart; one son Mark (Della) Degner of Eau Claire, Wisc., Pvt. Barry and Tracy of Des Moines; a daughter-in-law Doris Degner Foster, (Michael) Laura and Marissa Degner of Tulsa, Okla.; two brothers, Robert (Jeanne) of Aptos, Calif., Glen (Shirley) of Tucson, Ariz.; a sister-in-law Margaret Whiteley of Ankeny and several nieces and nephews.
Overton Funeral Home, Dysart was in charge of the arrangements.
A memorial fund has been established.