HARTINGTON — Marjorie Kathol loved kids and those who served in the military.
So, when she died last Thanksgiving, her family chose to honor her memory with memorial donations directed to a Hartington park project and/or the Hartington Veteran’s Memorial.
Having positively touched so many people during her lifetime, a lot of support poured in for these projects from far and wide. People sent in memorials from all over, including Omaha, Elkhorn, Waterloo, Pierce, Pilger, Dixon, and Bennington, and more in Nebraska; Watertown, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Vermillion, Elk Point, Yankton and more in South Dakota; Des Moines, Sioux City, Spencer, Le-Mars and others in Iowa, and states including: Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, California and Washington. Some memorials were designat
Some memorials were designated specifically to the park project or the veterans fund memorials. The family decided to split the remaining general memorials between the two projects.
Margie, as she was known, was born to Henry and Elizabeth Schroeder of Menominee in 1933, and spent her life surrounded by kids. Born the eldest of 13, most photos of her in her youth, portrayed her with a baby on her hip.
She spent her teen years, “hiring out” to area families as live-in help for “new arrivals.”
When she married Urby Kathol at 19, she was eventually blessed with eight kids of her own. During this era, she provided in-home daycare for many Hartington families, including, Roger and Bette Merkel, Gary and Lois Kinney, Dale and Janelle Sudbeck, Randy and Diane Pick, and John and Sharon Kampert, to name just a few,
As busy as she was with her baking, gardening and daily chores, she never missed an opportunity to spend time playing with the kids. She routinely sat with each kid swinging, gave pushes to kids on the swing as she came and went from the clothesline with each load of laundry.
While growing up, one of Margie’s only toys was a sack swing. After her demise, the family was in contact with Hartington city officials to determine if there was any need for playground equipment to be done in her honor at an appropriate site in one of the parks or the sports complex.
The city was then in touch with the park board member, Traci Baller, who then contacted Margie’s eldest daughter, Cindy Howey. Baller mentioned the board
Baller mentioned the board wanted to add a “mommy and me” swing to Felber Park, and this might be the perfect opportunity. And, since Margie was a grand
And, since Margie was a grandma to 19 grandchildren and great grandma to now 28 great-grandkids, the family felt this would be a perfect fit. Baller and the board then researched different types of swings and came up with the perfect style. This new swing makes it so that the adult/big person faces the wee one in a baby seat, while sitting in the big person swing. Both swings are on one unit and swing in tandum. Usually, adults can push their child from behind, but in doing so, they cannot see the child’s smiles. This new swing makes seeing the happy faces possible and was recently installed on the north end of the playground area of Felber Park by Allen Lammers and Roman Sudbeck. Brad Arens assembled the perimeter. Margie’s memorials totaled
Margie’s memorials totaled $3,379.50 toward the cost of this project. With several bills, outstanding yet, the total cost of the project including wood chips and perimeter trim is estimated to run around $4,000 as per Baller. The family will add a dedication plaque or plate honoring this swing in their mother’s memory. Upon seeing a picture of this new addition to the park, Margie’s daughter, Christi Janssen,Omaha, said, “ I love this so much!” and her other daughter, Cheryl Higgins, Pierce, said, “Makes me want to have a baby, so we can swing together, (just kidding!) … It’s 200 percent awesome!”
But Margie’s love did not end with just kids. She had a high esteem for anyone who served in the armed forces, most closely her brother, Joseph Schroeder, her next sibling. Born just 13 months after Margie, they were raised almost as twins and attended St. Boniface School, Menominee, together in the same grade.
Joe and Margie were pictured together in most of the family photos, did First Communion together and Confirmation together. They were always together.
She first began hearing of “the service” as her uncle, Edward Schroeder, served in the Army during WWII. But it really hit home when her closest brother joined the army. Having been so close to Joe, this separation was very hard on Margie. Her joy on his return home was turned to grief when shortly after he was discharged, Joe was killed in a crash at age 25. Margie wore his old wool army
Margie wore his old wool army shirt as a jacket for years after that and the little army doll Joe had sent took an honorary position on top of her piano. Then, when they were eligible, three other brothers all joined the service. James Schroeder, Yankton, S.D., Leander Schroeder, St. Helena,and Daniel Schroeder, Crofton, would keep Margie writing letters to them in the military for many years.
Her sisters would be doing the same thing and more, since most of her brothers-in-law were also veterans, Keith Pinkelman, Bloomfield; Arlynn Schmidt, Elk Point, S.D.; and Gerald Klug, St. Helena. Even two of Margie’s sons-in-law were military, Gary Howey, Hartington, and Tom Janssen, formerly of Crofton. With this strong military presence in her family, Margie’s kids felt it was only appropriate to also support the Hartington Veteran’s Memorial, and $2,119.50 in memorial funds were donated in her honor, some were directed donations and $1889.50 was donated from general memorials.
This memorial will be located on the southeast corner of Broadway and State Street.
“This has been an amazing journey, with mom’s passing, “ said daughter, Cindy. “Seeing all the memorials come in with the kind words from so many, the memorial amounts growing and now the culmination in the completion of the “mom and me” playground project. I am looking forward to the next step, as the Hartington Veteran’s Memorial becomes a reality. With the troubling times we are in, it’s a positive for the entire community. It gives us great pleasure to be able to do something for future generations.”