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Marie Elizabeth Kiest was born the fourth child of six girls on December 19, 1917 to John and Elizabeth (Boschee) Kiest. A neighbor helped deliver Marie in their sod house SE of Goodrich, ND.
Marie’s childhood was spent playing with her sisters. Her family loved their cats, dogs, and a special horse, Pat. Snaring gophers and running in the pasture were some of their favorite pastimes. They walked to school, when possible, or rode in a wagon or sled in the winter. Marie graduated from grade eight with a love for numbers. Even in her later life, she refused to use any “machine” to add up the income tax work.
Her parents had a wonderful garden as well as fruit trees, where Marie helped a great deal. In the evenings, Marie and her sisters did needle work and her mother always led them in singing. Marie helped her Mama with the cooking, baking, and candy making. She was an excellent cook known for her abilities and potluck dishes. Marie was given the gift of hospitality and thoroughly loved cooking for strangers, family, and friends. Most of her life, she spent Saturdays preparing for Sunday’s company.
The Kiest family loved the Lord greatly, daily reading the Bible and praying together. Marie gave her life to Jesus as a young girl, and was baptized as a teen. Music and singing were her favorite part of church. It was on the church steps of the Goodrich Church of God that Marie met Herbert Wonnenberg in 1937. The two courted for one year and were married on November 6, 1938 on the Kiest family farm.
Herb and Marie rented a farm northeast of Goodrich and purchased their first tractor, a Ford 8-N. What a change from farming with horses! In 1942, they purchased the Bill Kleinsasser farm north of Chaseley. On May 4, 1944, Janice Marie was born.
From 1945-1955 many of the winters were spent in California where Herbert worked in the vineyards, for building movers, and as a carpenter. Herb and Marie milked cows until 1957, and then gave up the cream checks, but kept the range cattle.
Herbert and Marie felt their calling was to work with the youth. They were church youth directors for 20 years. In 1977, Herb and Marie began traveling during the winter. From 1980 until 2001, they spent their winters in Pharr, Texas.
On April 16, 2001, Herbert passed away, and Marie remained on the farm until 2008, after which she moved to the Bismarck area with Warren and Janice. Marie continued to travel with Warren and Janice to Texas until 2014 when she moved to Touchmark. She made lots of friends there and appreciated the warm atmosphere.
She remained at Touchmark until May 31, 2020 when she moved in with Warren and Janice. She continued to receive care through Home Health/Hospice until her passing, exactly one year later on May 31, 2021.
Marie is survived by her daughter, Janice (Warren) Martin; her grandson, Michael (Amy) Martin; great-grandchildren Joshua, Jacob, Olivia, and Elizabeth Martin all of Bismarck; one brother-in-law Bill Wonnenberg of El Dorado Hills, CA.
Marie was preceded in death by her husband, Herbert, her parents, her sisters Clara, Tillie, Katie, and twins Helen and Hilda, and numerous sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
A funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 5 at the Century Baptist Church, 205 Colt Ave, Bismarck. Visitation will be held 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the church.
Burial will be held at Goodrich Cemetery.