MILWAUKEE — Mary Margaret Edell, 97, of Milwaukee died Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Milwaukee.

Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Smith Center, Kan. Burial will be at Fairview Cemetery.

Rosary will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the church.

Simmons-Rentschler Mortuary of Smith Center is in charge of arrangements.


Mary Margaret was born Feb. 28, 1922, in Baltimore to Ethel (née Ochiltree) and Earl Stephen Bishop, Ph.D. Mary Margaret grew up in Haddam, Kan., with her mother and older sister, Blanche Harlan. She graduated from Haddam High School, class of 1940.

Mary Margaret attended Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, earning her Bachelor of Science in microbiology in 1943. Following college, she ventured to Detroit for a year to work in the laboratory at Henry Ford Hospital.

In 1944 she returned to Manhattan, Kan., to wed James Green. Tragically, she was widowed in late June 1945 and gave birth to her first child in March 1946. Later that year Mary Margaret returned to Kansas State, earning her Master of Science in bacteriology in 1948. She continued her research activities and teaching responsibilities in the Department of Microbiology as she worked toward her Ph.D.

It was during this time that she instructed a young U.S. Army Air Corps veteran from Smith Center, Kan., Cornelius Clyde "Casey" Edell. Mary Margaret and Casey were married on May 27, 1950, in Manhattan.

Mary Margaret was involved in many social groups and volunteer activities in Smith Center, including PEO. She was instrumental in the establishment of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. In 1970, Mary Margaret returned to college to obtain her teaching certificate; she was a highly respected faculty member and a much beloved science teacher in Kensington, Kan., until her retirement over 10 years later. Mary Margaret prepared taxes from her main street office for the next 20 years, finally retiring at the age of 90.

Casey, the love of Mary Margaret’s life for over 67 years, passed away on March 2, 2018. She wanted to live her remaining days at home in Smith Center, and, with the help and support of so many in that community, she was able to remain until winter.

Mary Margaret was a remarkable woman, strong and independent, self-sacrificing, and tireless in her commitment to family, community and church. She epitomized the Greatest Generation and will continue to inspire those who loved her so dearly through their living memories.

Mary Margaret is survived by her children, Michaele "Mickey" Edell (Edward Polce) of Canton, Mich., Julie Edell-Berlin of Milwaukee, Eric Edell (Rosemary) of Rochester, Minn., Thomas Edell (Joana) of San Antonio and David Edell of Houston.

Mary Margaret also is survived by six grandchildren, Jesse (Fernanda) Edell-Berlin of New York, N.Y., Katherine Edell of Denver, Anna (Ryan) Cooksey of Salt Lake City, Logan Edell of San Antonio, Monica Edell of New York and Lewis Edell of Paris.

The Casey and Mary Margaret Edell Memorial Scholarship Fund, for Smith County High School graduates who pursue scientific studies at Kansas State University, has been established with the People’s Bank Heartland Foundation in Smith Center.

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