Cover photo for Mary Harkness Neigum's Obituary
Mary Harkness Neigum Profile Photo
1927 Mary 2023

Mary Harkness Neigum

October 18, 1927 — February 28, 2023

Mary Neigum, 95, Bismarck, passed away on February 28, 2023.

A service livestream will be available at the following link:

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11:30 AM, Thursday, March 9, at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, 520 Raymond St., Bismarck.

Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. The rosary will be said at 11:10AM.

Mary was born on Oct. 18, 1927, in Minto, ND, to John and Lena Koehmstedt. All of her schooling through 12th grade was completed in Minto. Transportation to and from school was by horse and buggy and later by a Ford Model T. The horses were tied to a hitching post outside the school while she and her siblings attended classes. Her father heated bricks for warmth in the buggy and the Model T. She attended the college of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN, graduating with a degree in medical records in 1949. She moved to Portland, OR, and worked for Physicians Hospital as the director of medical records from June 1949 to 1950.

She married John Hamilton Harkness on July 8, 1950, in Minto. Together they moved to Duluth, and Mary went to work for St. Mary’s Hospital. John entered the Navy in 1950 until 1954. John and Mary moved a number of times. They lived in Grand Forks, followed by moving back to Minto, then to Tulare, CA, then to Jamestown, ND, then White Bear Lake, MN, and finally settled in Bismarck. John passed away on Dec. 13, 1968. After John’s passing, with the will of steel and a heart of gold Mary raised her seven children by herself. She took the responsibility of keeping everything together through this challenging time. Mary made sure that her children were well cared for and provided everything they needed. Successful mothers are not the ones that never struggled. They are the ones that never give up despite the struggles. She went to work for St. Alexius Hospital as the director of the medical records department. On Sept. 12, 1981, she married George Neigum. She retired in Oct. 1989. George passed away on June 25, 2007. In Sept. of 2011, Mary relocated to Wahpeton, ND.

Mary loved playing bridge, tending to her flower garden, visiting the casinos and playing Scrabble. If you didn’t pay close attention, she would turn over a Scrabble letter to play it as a blank. She would also be the first to challenge an opponent’s word hoping that she was correct in her challenge. She had an infectious laugh that made everyone else giggle. Mary enjoyed baking the most delicious cinnamon rolls and pies, both cherry and pecan. She cut her pies in fourths and insisted everyone had a second serving. Her Chex mix was a favorite of many people. Mary was always dressed up and loved wearing tops with rhinestones and shiny shoes. She loved relaxing and watching the Minnesota Twins, especially her favorite player Joe Mauer. Mary enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of Mary’s nightly rituals was to double and triple check every door to ensure they were locked before going to bed. Another passion of hers was collecting and displaying the china that her mother had purchased in Winnipeg. She has fond memories of visiting relatives in Canada and northern North Dakota.

Mary was preceded in death by her mother and father; brothers, John, Ray and Paul; sisters, Helen Koehmstedt and Eulalie Jacobs; son, Craig Harkness; daughter, Kathy Nelson; and great-grandchild, Jack Harkness.

Mary is survived by Colleen (Ken) Bakkegard, Maureen Spangler, Colette Chase, Karen Harkness and John Harkness Junior.

She will be dearly missed by her 19 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

Mary is now resting in eternal peace with the people she loved and those that loved her.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Harkness Neigum, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 9, 2023

11:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

519 Raymond St, Bismarck, ND 58501

Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. A rosary will begin at 11:10 AM in the church.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Friday, May 26, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Mary's Cemetery

, Bismarck, ND 58501


Click to watch

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