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2015 November 28: Mary Rettenberger

Mary E. Rettenberger, 48, of Dubuque passed away on November 28, 2015 at the University of Wisconsin Madison Hospital.

Visitation will be on Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road where a funeral service will be held at 7:00 p.m. with Rev. Donald Bakewell officiating. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery at a later date.

Mary Ellen Rettenberger was born on September 14, 1967 daughter of Max and Madonna (Goetzinger) Rettenberger. Mary graduated from Hempstead High School in 1985 and attended NICC and studied Accounting.

In 2007, Mary was diagnosed with NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis) which caused cirrhosis of the liver. Mary received a liver transplant on October 4th at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Mary fought bravely to overcome the obstacles she faced in recovery but in the end, it was not to be.

Mary worked the past 23 years at Nordstrom Distribution Center in Dubuque, and considered her friends at Nordstrom part of her family." She would often talk about her Nordstrom friends with great affection, especially Diane, Cathy, Michelle, Tammy and Nancy.

Mary had a quick smile and laugh, and always had a joke to tell. She loved her friends and family, and her cats, Tigger, Pepper, Maxine and Riley. If you were really special and Mary knew she could get away with it, you earned the title of "slacker." Mary loved to bake and made some of the best cheesecakes for her friends and family.

Mary talked about someday opening a little dessert shop, just so she could bake! After retirement, Mary also wanted to buy an RV and travel the United States with her sister, Melinda.

So many people deserve a special thank you for their friendship, care and love we can't begin to name them all. The family would like to recognize her Nordstrom family and her friends who were always there for her, Dr. Brown and staff at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, and the Transplant Team and staff of the Transplant Unit and TLC Unit at the University of Wisconsin Madison Hospitals and Clinic for everything they did for Mary.

Those surviving to honor and cherish Mary's life are her sisters Melinda Rettenberger and Maureen Kleiner of Dubuque and Michelle (Russell) Ryan of Zwingle, Iowa, and her brothers Michael (Jolene) and Marty (Julie) Rettenberger of Dubuque, and many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, and two brothers Mark and Merle Rettenberger. A Mary Rettenberger Memorial Fund has been established. Proceeds will be donated to the Hope Transplant House in Madison, Wisconsin and the Dubuque Regional Humane Society.

For those friends and family would like to like to do something to honor Mary's life, please consider becoming an organ donor.

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