Mary Jane Parkhurst

February 14, 1931 — April 6, 2024


   ELROY - Mary Jane Parkhurst, 93 of Elroy passed away on Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Tomah.  She was born on February 14, 1931, to Clyde and Annie (Blaha) Winchel in Vernon County.

   Mary was a person of high integrity and was never afraid to “tell things as they are.”  Although she could be very stern at times, Mary was quick to laugh and enjoyed the simple life.

   Mary was an excellent cook and took particular pleasure in baking, especially cookies and sweet treats.  If you stopped by her house for a visit or a meal, you left pumped full of food.  She never accepted the phrases, “I’m full” or “I can’t eat another bite.”

   Mary often spoke of how lucky she was to have good neighbors that looked out for her in later years.  She had fond memories of the many trips and excursions she took with friends.

   Mary was a long term member of the Helpful Homemakers club where she made and kept many lifelong friends.

   Mary loved gardening. Her gardens were often large enough to have their own zip codes.  There was never a more suitable adversary to a Wisconsin garden weed than Mary. She would work from sunup to sundown beating those weeds into submission.

   Mary loved keeping track of her family.  She probably single-handedly kept the greeting card companies and the USPS in business by sending cards and letters for all occasions.  She knew everyone’s birthday, anniversaries, and favorite foods.

   But her greatest love of all was her husband, Jim, whom she met when she was 16.  They raised 3 children and stayed happily married 73 years until his death.

   Jim and Mary were inseparable.  In the early 70’s, Mary went to work drilling wells by Jim’s side for the next 20 odd years.  They enjoyed stopping for breakfast, lunch and sometimes supper at various restaurants to visit with friends.

   Mary often spoke of being “the young kids in the valley” when they first moved into their forever home and then after a blink of an eye, became “the old farts of the valley.”

   In conclusion, both Mary and Jim were as one.  They grew up together, raised a family together, grew old together and will now spend Eternity together. They will be missed.

   Mary was survived by her children, Randy (Sandy) and Debbie Parkhurst, grandchildren, Guy Parkhurst, Nicole Pergande, Gina Flister, Joel Yoakum, Jeremy Yoakum, and Erin Root, 15 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild.  She is further survived by a sister Myrtle Melvin and a brother, Frank Winchel.

   She was preceded in death by her parents, daughter, Lorna, siblings, Marlene Baldwin, Mildred Olson, Margaret Eckelberg, Marcella Calhoun, Marlyce Revels, Connie Brueggeman, John, Ronald and Richard Winchel.

   A Celebration of Life gathering for family and friends will be announced at a later date.

   In lieu of flowers or gifts please support St. Croix Hospice in Mary’s name.

   Smith-Nelson Funeral Home, Kendall is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences can be offered by visiting

Smith-Nelson Funeral Home