Cover photo for Mary A. Hannaher's Obituary
Mary A. Hannaher Profile Photo
1928 Mary 2021

Mary A. Hannaher

April 8, 1928 — March 16, 2021

Mary Hannaher died March 16, 2021 in her home at Touchmark at Harwood Groves.

Mary Augusta (Niebels) Hannaher was born on April 8, 1928 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, the only child of Dr. Harold and Florence (Carlson) Niebels.  She enjoyed a childhood surrounded by many extended family members, and in particular loved the family cabin on Fish Lake where her love of nature bloomed.

While pursuing a degree in occupational therapy at NDSU she met Thomas Patrick Hannaher following his service in the Pacific. They were married June 12, 1948 at Our Lady of Victory church in Fergus Falls. They raised five children at a variety of residences in Moorhead and Fargo.

An active outdoors person, Mary loved walking, biking, water skiing, cross country skiing, golfing and birding. Her love of birds was amplified by many winters spent on Sanibel Island, Florida, where she and her husband, “TP,” spent many hours at the Ding Darling National Wild Life Sanctuary.

In the 1960s during annual Greater Moorhead Days celebrations, Mary and friends achieved minor celebrity status by three times locating the $500 prize-winning “keys” given away as part of that event.

But more than birds and treasure hunting, Mary loved her kids, her grandkids and her great grandchildren. Nothing made her happier than being surrounded by riotous hordes of “grands.” Tremendously empathetic, Mary looked out for her numerous family members – putting their welfare above all else. Her supreme love was reserved for her husband of almost 70 years.

Her concern for others extended beyond family members. She received numerous awards from United Blood Service for her regular blood donations. She also provided unpaid therapy services to disabled children in the 1970s.

An avid traveler, Mary and TP visited Italy, Greece, Japan, Ireland and Alaska. Regular family road trips took Mary, TP and family members to virtually all of the continental U.S. She was also a member of the Gamma Phi sorority and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

But what Mary will be remembered for, more than anything else, was her warm, engaging smile, a smile that conveyed contentment, a contentment generated by the presence of her family members.

She, and her smile, will be greatly missed.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, husband Thomas, and eldest son Michael.  She is survived by her children; Thomas (Ann) Santa Fe, NM, Daniel (Loral) Fargo, Mary Pat Nelson (David) Breckenridge, MN, Paul (Kay) Fargo.  Daughter-in-law Elizabeth, St. Louis Park, MN.   14 Grandchildren, 29 Great-Grandchildren, one Great-Great Grandchild.

A private Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 20 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Moorhead.  Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery will be planned at a future date.

The family would like to thank the loving and kind caregivers at Touchmark as well as Hospice of the Red River Valley.  You are special in our hearts.  In lieu of flowers, memorials would be encouraged to one or more of the following:  Lutheran Immigrations and Refugee Service;;

Livestream of the Funeral Mass, Video tribute and online guestbook will be available at


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