Mary Ellen Holomek Kern was born on July 7, 1936 in her parents back bedroom on the family farm west of Caldwell, Ks. She was the youngest of 5 children born to Charles and Rose Holomek. Her older siblings were, Evelyn, Chuck and Bill (and an infant brother who died at birth).
Mary attended Springdale School in her primary years and then attended Caldwell schools, graduating with the Class of ‘54. She and Frank Kern were high school sweethearts as well as Homecoming King and Queen. They married on May 25 of 54-right after they graduated from high school! Carl, their first son was born followed by Dedrah two years later. They then moved to California a few years later where Frank worked as a roofer. They had 3 more children together in California: Belinda, Martin (Marty) and Daniel (Frank). After 8 years, they moved back to Kansas and lived on a farm in Wellington. Mary attended LPN school while living there, and they eventually moved to Caldwell where she made a career in nursing from 1971-2012. It was there that she made many lifelong friendships. She often talked about how much she loved her time there.
In 2012, she lost her second youngest son, Marty, due to an accident at his work, which left her with the pain of a broken heart that no mother’s heart should ever have to endure. At this point, she officially retired from nursing and spent time enjoying her grandchildren. She eventually moved from her little home on St. Marys Street in Caldwell to Enid, Oklahoma to be closer to her daughters. There, she enjoyed many vacations with family and birthday parties with grandkids.
She died peacefully at Dedrah’s home in Enid, Ok on August 22, 2022. She was preceded in death by her son Marty in 2012 and her son-in-law Roger Stoddard in 2020. Her three siblings, Evelyn Caldwell, Chuck Holomek, and Bill Holomek also preceded her in death.
She is survived by 4 of her children: Carl Kern, Dedrah Stoddard, Belinda Williams (Jim); and Daniel (Jen) Kern. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Derek Kern, Bailey Amaro, Sunni Kneeland, Tiffany Hobson, Ashley Wilson, Zach Williams, Ariel Stinnett, Bryson Kern, Katlyn Rule and Kolby Kern. She has 23 great-grandchildren.
A year ago, Ariel Williams-Stinnett wrote a book about her life. In this book, she talks about selfless things she has done with her life such as, “Who will get the reward in heaven? That decision will not be made on earth. I cannot say my most selfless thing I have ever done,” Mary said, “Hopefully there are many”.
I think we can all agree that Mary Kern is one of the most selfless people we know and there are many many selfless deeds that she’s done in her life. Heaven will be grateful to have her.
Recitation of the Rosary will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 27, 2022 with Mass of the Christian Burial to immediately follow at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, Caldwell.
Memorials may be made to Springdale Cemetery or to the Caldwell Czech Chapter #1 and sent in care of the mortuary.