Mary M. Draayer, age 75, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away after an extended illness on December 29, 2021 at Mayo Clinic Health Systems -Austin. Mary Margaret Helgesen was born October 1, 1946, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Paul and Hermoine (Kolstad) Helgesen. She graduated in 1964 from Bloomington High School in Bloomington, MN. Early in life she worked as a clerk in a bank and continued her education. Mary was a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin. She was devoted to her religion, was faithful in prayer and had a desire to make a positive difference with her life. In 1998, Mary made her dream a reality with the creation of a cat rescue, Cats Off Broadway. Through her efforts, hundreds of cats were placed in their “fur-ever” homes across Southern Minnesota. When she wasn’t busy with nonprofit work, Mary enjoyed spending time with her family and friends or simply enjoying the peacefulness of her sunny back porch with a strong cup of coffee. Mary will be dearly missed by all that knew and loved her.
Mary is survived by her son, Christian Draayer of Austin; grandchildren, Storm Draayer of Austin, Crystal Dahlk of Austin, Kyren Gutierrez of Austin; longtime friend, Misty Dahlk of Austin; brothers Michael (Ernestine) Helgesen of St. Paul Park, MN and John (Marilyn) Helgesen of Lilburn, Georgia; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Hermoine Helgesen, and brother in infancy, Patrick in 1954.
Memorial services will take place next summer. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Austin, Minnesota. Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements.