Serving Western Wisconsin
Mary Sather 04/05/2020

Mary Sather 04/05/2020

Courtesy of Rivertowns newspaper group. Written by David M. Newman
NEW RICHMOND — Mary Sather was at the heart of New Richmond’s growth over the past 50 years and she was always there to document the city’s progress.
Sather died Sunday, April 5, after several months of being in failing health. She was 89.
Sather and her husband, Irv, were incredibly active in the community. Mary took a keen interest in the city’s history. She wrote the ultimate book on New Richmond’s history when she penned “They Built Their City Twice: A History of New Richmond, Wisconsin.” The book features 150 vivid photographs and 200 pages of local history spanning 150 years.
The Sathers were among the founders of the New Richmond Preservation Society, which was chartered in 1982. The society was designed to preserve the history of the city and surrounding area. The society owns and operates the Heritage Center, which has become one of the showcase pieces in the community. The Heritage Center is a museum of 11 historic buildings filled with artifacts that detail the area’s history. She served as the curator.
“Mary was instrumental in the cataloging of our artifacts that number over 4,000,” said Paul Mayer, president of the Heritage Center board of directors.
Sather was involved in countless committees and activities throughout the community. She and her husband were fixtures at the weekly flea market held each summer weekend held at the Heritage Center.
A longtime columnist for The New Richmond News, she wrote a weekly column titled “Also Noted” for 45 years, publishing her final column in 2015. For many of those years, she also wrote “Sharing Memories” about New Richmond’s history.
In her final column, she wrote, “With all these years, and all those columns, I have never had a bit of trouble finding things to write about. People have been wonderful about offering suggestions, about cheerfully supplying more information, if needed, for a subject, and giving great feedback.”
She led the production of the News’ Centennial Edition Plus 5 in 1973. This was a huge undertaking, with the edition containing 10 sections. It took two railroad cars of paper to print all the copies.
At the 2018 Heritage Center annual meeting, the Sathers were honored with the pavilion renamed “Sather Pavilion,” in recognition of their many contributions. Mayer said, “This place that we are all part of is a very special place and wouldn’t be here without Irv and Mary’s vision, hard work, and dedication. The Board wanted to find a meaningful way to recognize their immense contribution to the Heritage Center.”
The Sathers remained highly active in the community well into their 80s. When they thought that a skate park was needed in the city, they led the fundraising effort and a skate park was constructed at Hatfield Park. In recognition of their leadership, the park is named the “Irv and Mary Sather Skylark Skate Park.”
She worked tirelessly to preserve the city’s history. She interviewed many of the people who were influential in the city’s history, including former Wisconsin Gov. Warren Knowles. Many of the interviews were recorded at the restaurant she owned, the Fount ‘N Fare in The Creamery Building.
The Sathers were voted as New Richmond’s Citizens of the Year in 1994.
Heritage Center’s annual Christmas Luncheon was another of her pet projects. She not only did most of the organizing for this event, she also prepared most of the food.
Mary was also a meticulous gardener. There is a flower garden right outside the entrance of the Heritage Center office where she spent countless hours. That spot bears the name “Mary’s Garden.” Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


  • Bill Klopp Posted April 6, 2020 11:16 am

    May God richly bless this lady as he has called her home. She not only was a nice neighbor who lived right near us, but did so much along with her husband Irv for the community and the Heritage Center. I can still remember going to her little cafe in the Creamery and getting a good malt and food also. Rest in Peace Mary, you deserve it.

  • Scottie Ard Posted April 6, 2020 8:01 pm

    The brightest light in our community now fills heavens. Journalist, historian, mentor, advocate, cheerleader and dear friend to so many. We have been blessed to have known such a woman. Our community history is intact due to her diligence and leadership. From Mary, we have all learned tolerance, charity, and faith. God Bless you, Mary you have left us with many gifts.

  • Marilyn Everson Posted April 7, 2020 7:29 pm

    We were so lucky have dedicated lady to do things for our community for so many years.. Especially Heritage center…God Bless peace to you an family.

  • Cindy J Long Posted April 8, 2020 6:53 pm

    Mary was a great example to all is us. The both of you have made the heritage center what it is today. So giving, making great things happen in our little community. Making a difference. Thank you Mary for teaching ❤️ that one person can make a difference. Her memories will live on blooming each year in “Mary’s Garden” . How lucky we all are were ❤️ to have had you in our lives. Rest in peace

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