Mary Jeane (Reep) Helfrich passed away peacefully in Sioux Falls, SD, the early morning on Jan 27th, 2021, one week after her 70th birthday. She was wrapped in a soft purple and green quilt, with photos of her family looking down on her, and the grace of her Lord illuminating the path home.
Mary was a very talented quilter. This passion was an ever present part of her adult life. She had a keen eye for fabrics, her stitches were thoughtful, and she loved a challenging design. These same qualities were the elements she brought to her life, shaping and making beautiful times that formed a quilt of memories that brought her immeasurable comfort in her later years.
Mary’s early life was spent in Danube, Minnesota, with loving adoptive parents Russell and Dora (Boehlke) Reep, brother Mike Reep, and a big collection of dear aunts & uncles, lots of close cousins, and friends. She talked often about the sleepovers, working at her parents hardware store, countless card games, summers at the lake, big family gatherings, and traditional church events.
Her early adult years were marked by a short marriage to John Luthy, which resulted in the birth of her treasured children, Justus (Tina) Luthy, DoraLi (Dustin) Harrison, and Daniel Luthy. Being a mother was one of the greatest joys of Mary’s life, bringing a purpose and ongoing-learning, and she always said that those years of motherhood were the most vibrant times of her life. These parenting years were spent in eastern South Dakota, and connected in marriage to Jack Boatright. Though their relationship turned out to be less permanent than either of them expected, many of the deep friendships, memories and adventures of her life were formed during these times.
Mary worked many interesting jobs throughout her life, from travel agent, camp director, piano teacher, to homeschool tutor. She earned her BA in Education from DSU, Madison, SD. Mary was a natural leader, creative and fun. For many years she was heavily involved with the Cub & Boy Scouts, and various church communities. She loved making magical moments for people, from board game nights, Christmas pageants, hosting dinners and themed parties, holiday fun, and shaping unique family traditions. She was the one cheering the loudest at her children’s school events and concerts (endlessly embarrassing her teenage children!), and always made sure to have plenty of craft materials on hand in case the opportunity for a project arose. She wrote letters to everyone (her family, friends, children, and so many soldiers). Receiving a colourful envelope in the mail from Mary was always a delight.These kind of colorful, wholesome moments are what she lived for and loved. Her hope is that her family and friends will carry forward those joyful threads of living, and she said in her final months “it makes me happy to think that you would remember me and smile”. Mary survived many hardships in her life, and weathered the storms with resilience and faith.
She is preceded in death by her beloved child, Danny, and her dear parents Dora and Russell. In her late years, the comfort of reunion with them in heaven brought her great consolation. She is remembered by many family and friends who loved her dearly and wish her eternal peace.