Cover photo for Mary S. Rethlake's Obituary
Mary S. Rethlake Profile Photo

Mary S. Rethlake

December 13, 1943 — December 13, 2022


Mary S. Rethlake

Mary Sue Rethlake (Matzke) passed at home on her 79th birthday (12/13/22) after a heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Mary was born on December 13, 1943 and grew up in St Louis Park, MN. She graduated high school in 1961, then attended the University of Minnesota, where she was an art major. Mary was bright light to everyone she encountered. She was warm, outgoing, independent and had an infectious smile. She never met a stranger and was a treasured friend to all!

In May of 1964, Mary begin her long career as a flight attendant at Northwest Airlines. She loved her job and became the baby whisperer to all crying babies. In June of 1974 her dreams came true when she welcomed her son, Zack. Her greatest joy in life was being a mom and eventually a devoted grandmother. Mary spent her time living in St Louis Park, her river shack on the Mississippi and in Eagan, MN with her life partner.

Mary was an aviation enthusiast who gave a friendly wave to every passing flight (including bald eagles). She was a hay-baler, an artist, fishermen, life-of-the-party, barnstormer, photographer, smoocher, weather reporter, animal nurse, cowgirl, road-tripper and a basket weaver who often used the phrases, uff-da, yummy, howdy and funky! She loved cooking and serving her friends & family like they were her first class passengers.

Mary is survived by her cherished love & life partner, Stephen Swazee (Eagan, MN); her beloved son, Zack (Jessi) and “golden boy” grandson, Cruz Rethlake. She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Ruby Matzke; brother, Doug and her longtime love, Thomas Ahlers (Calhoun County, IL). A celebration of life will be held in her honor (date will be announced soon and website will be updated with the service information).

A Celebration of Life Party will be held on Saturday, January 21 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport.  Event details and information on how to honor Mary with memorials can be found at: .

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

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 21, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Life Party (Minneapolis, St. Paul International Airport)

4300 Glumack Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55111

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


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