Mary Ziegenhagen

Mary Kinsella Ziegenhagen died peacefully on May 2, in Cloverdale, California, a few weeks shy of her 84th birthday. She was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and spent her teen years in Moorhead, Minnesota. 

Mary’s husband David, who was born two days after Mary, passed away in late January. They retired to Cloverdale in 2000 and were active members of the community from the start. She headed up the annual Cloverdale Fiddle Festival for several years and chaired the Board of the History Center guiding it through its recent expansion. She loved her backyard garden in Clover Springs and especially enjoyed the spring profusion of roses.

Mary was trained as an accredited medical records technician and worked at that for a short time but went to Washington, DC, on the staff of Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota in 1960. Later in her career, she worked as an assistant to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. She served as an assistant to the Director of the first groups of Peace Corps volunteers to work in the Philippines and later went to Western Samoa where David was Director of the Peace Corps. Returning to Minnesota, she started a community newspaper in her suburban basement and grew Current Newspapers to a chain of five papers serving seven suburbs of Minneapolis. She also was a member of the editorial board of the Minneapolis Star. 

Mary and David are survived by two sons, Eric and Marc. She taught them to love road trips on the Great Plains, books and newspapers, music, movies and plays, the company of friends, the fight against injustice, and the solitude of nature walks. Marc lives in Minneapolis, Eric in Chicago, and they both loved visiting their parents in Cloverdale.

Mary was an avid reader, fundraiser, bird watcher, and advocate for the arts, land preservation, and women’s rights. Locally, she was a regular at Zini’s, Thai Spice, The Railroad Grill, and Geyserville Grille.

In addition to her sons, Mary leaves behind her sisters Elinor Smith, Alice Olson and Rita Kimmel, and brothers Mike and Tony Kinsella. 

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