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Mary E. Dempster

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

MENDOTA – Mary Elizabeth Dempster, 96, of Mendota, died Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at her home.

She was born Nov. 15, 1917, in Sterling, to Marie (Seidel) and James Kane. She graduated from Catholic Community High School in Sterling, where she later attended business school. During World War II, Mary worked as a secretary with the Chicago Ordnance District. After the death of her father in 1944, she returned to her hometown of Sterling, where she met Robert W. Dempster after he returned from serving in the war. They were married on Oct. 17, 1946, at St. Mary Church in Sterling.

Mary focused on supporting Bob, raising their children, and community involvement, as Bob’s banking career took the family to Dwight and Piper City before they arrived in Mendota in 1965. In the early 1970s, she volunteered with the Mendota Migrant Council, obtaining grants for the first migrant summer school program in Mendota. Later, she worked as office manager for Agricultural Building Co. She was a member of Holy Cross Church, Mendota Community Hospital Auxiliary, and Mendota Elks Lodge. Mary was an avid Chicago Cubs fan, a bridge enthusiast, and a strong supporter of Catholic education. She will long be remembered as a loving mother and grandmother who enjoyed spending time with friends and family.

Survivors include her son, James (Diana) Dempster of Mequon, Wis.; her daughters, Marcia Hogan of Chicago and Jean Dempster of South China, Maine; nine grandchildren; one great-grandchild; her brother, Frank (Ann) Kane; and two sisters, Joan (John) Golick and Sister Rita Kane.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her son, Richard Dempster; her son-in-law, Michael Hogan; her sister, Margaret Kane; and three brothers, Joe, John, and Charles Kane.

Visitation will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Merritt Funeral Home in Mendota. A Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Cross Church in Mendota, with the Rev. Fredi Gomez Torres officiating. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Mendota.

Memorials may be directed to Holy Cross School in Mendota and Illinois Valley Hospice in Peru. 

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