Mary Kay Schwenke


NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, MI – Mary Kay Schwenke, age 77, of Negaunee Township, entered eternal life on Friday, November 10, 2017 at UP Health System-Marquette, in the loving care of her family. Mary was born on April 9, 1940 in Marquette to Eino and Janice (Derusha) Heliin. She was raised in Trowbridge Park and attended Marquette area schools, graduating from Graveraet High School class of 1958. Following graduation from high school, she enrolled at Northern Michigan University, graduating with her Licensed Practical Nursing degree on February 3, 1960. On February 13, 1960, she married her high school sweetheart, Robert C. Schwenke, and on their honeymoon she tested and passed her state board exam for nursing. Mary started her nursing career at St. Mary’s Hospital and later started work as a private duty nurse through the hospital. While working as a nurse, Mary and Bob established a home and started a family. The couple raised a family while living on the Dead River Basin where their first home was built. The couple spent many wonderful years living on the Dead River Basin. She retired in 2001 from the Marquette County Health Department after 26 years of nursing. Mary loved flowers and enjoyed spending her free time gardening at her home on the river. In retirement, the couple moved to a log cabin that was built by her father. Mary and Bob loved traveling with her sister Susan and brother-in-law Kess. The group often traveled together traveling to Mexico, states in the United States and Canada with her favorite place being Sanibel area in Florida. Mary was a member of St. Paul Episcopal Church, Marquette and a member of The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Mary is survived by her husband, Robert C. Schwenke of Negaunee Township; her children, Robert J. Schwenke, Kathy A. Schwenke and Paul (Chris) Schwenke; her grandchildren, Kali, Joseph, Kaitlin, Brandon and Brooklin; her sisters, Susan (Kess) Booker, Lilly (Michael) Haley and Jessie LeClaire; her brothers, John (Patsy) Heliin and Henry (Karen) Heliin and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her step-mother.

The family would like to express a sincere thank you to the caregivers on the ICU unit at UP Health System-Marquette for the wonderful and compassionate care given to Mary. Honoring Mary’s wishes, an informal gathering of friends and family will be held in the spring at the family camp.

The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family where condolences may be expressed online at