Mary A. Schopper, September 14, 1929 - February 13, 2020

Mary A. Schopper
Send Condolence

Schopper, Mary Ann (nee Backlund), age 90, died peacefully in her sleep on February 13, 2020. Loving mother of Kerry (Dan), Bonnie (Jerry), Kenneth (Lori) and Barbara. Cherished grandmother of ten and great grandmother of seven. Dear Aunt of many nieces and nephews.

Mary truly was one of a kind. Born into a large Swedish farm family, she held dear her childhood memories. After losing her mother at a young age, she began what became a lifetime of independence and fortitude, always making the most of whatever life dealt her. She was a true adventurer, willing to participate in any activity. At various stages during her life she was an avid hiker, square dancer, reader, choir member and bridge player, and always a loyal Twins baseball fan - regardless of their performance. 

Preceded in death by her father and mother, Carl and Nancy Backlund, several sisters and a brother, and two sons-in-law.  Mary leaves behind many good friends that were all touched by the friendship she easily extended. A special thank you to the entire staff of Heritage Assisted Living in Eau Claire, Wisconsin for creating an environment where our mother felt safe, appreciated and well cared for. We will never be able to adequately express our gratitude. 

A woman of deep faith, we find comfort in knowing that she is now in heaven receiving the eternal life that she believed in. We hope that all of those we have lost before her are enjoying the spirit that we all knew and loved, though we apologize for the constant bridge games she is sure to be organizing.

A family burial and memorial service in Minnesota is planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Swedish Institute located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Eau Claire is assisting the family with the arrangements. 


  1. Bruce Karstadt February 20, 2020

    Dear family,
    I just wanted to extend condolences to you on behalf of all of us at the American Swedish Institute. Being born into a large Swedish farm family must have given her a great sense of appreciation for her heritage. Thank you for selecting ASI as recipient of memorials, which will be used in our work to preserve our collective Swedish heritage and retain ties to Sweden.
    Bruce Karstadt, CEO, The American Swedish Institute

  2. Shira Schwartz (Bonnie) February 19, 2020

    Dear Schoppers,

    I came across the obituary for your dear mother while reading the MN Trib this morning. I am so sorry for your loss. From my vivid memories of time spent at your house with Mary Minette, I can only imagine that this strong lady continued to be a super-mom to you all, a great source of support, and always good for a hearty laugh throughout her long lifetime. (We called her Mary Minette, lovingly! Wherever did that Minette come from?!) May her memory be always for a blessing.

    All day I have been reliving those wonderful years I experienced in the ever-exciting Schopper household. It occurred to me that Mary was only in her late 30's when I first met her! I can't get over that--my mom was so much older (she has been gone for 28 years already--you are so fortunate to have had your mama for so many years). In retrospect, I understand how she was so full of verve and energy and mischief! Such a young mom--yet she always seemed so wise to me. I remember that she was always willing to sit down and talk it out and offer realistic advice (and I was in great need of that in those days!) Most of all I just remember her fun voice and her joking around and her delightful spirit. My fantasy was that I was the fifth Schopper kid.

    I have no idea what has become of you all...except for Mayor Kerry (which is quite impressive, but not unexpected--you always had such brilliant, creative ideas, Kerry). You all gave me a home at a time when I really needed it. Kerry, you offered me a kind of friendship I'd never had before--a best friend at a time in life when that was so crucial to finding an identity. Bonnie, you shared your little room with me and danced with me when my dreams were falling apart and then reshaping again. I wish we could have always lived across the street from one another. Kenny, you were the cute, athletic little brother I dreamed of having. Barbie, you were the awesome little sister who was so clever and cool--another dream sibling. How many nights did I fall asleep dreaming that Mary was my mom and you were all my family? I hope you have stayed close through the years; I hope you can look back and treasure the good memories.

    If possible, I would so appreciate the opportunity to attend a memorial service for your beloved mom and pay my respects to a woman who stood as a role model for me. In my mind and heart, Mary Minette is Forever 40, full of fun, and opening the back screen door to welcome me in.

    Love to you all,
    Shira Schwartz (formerly Bonnie Grenke)

  3. DuVonne Swenson February 19, 2020

    My sympathy to Mary Ann's family. Her mother, Nancy, and my grandmother, Josephine Peterson Swenson, were sisters. I hadn't seen Mary Ann in many years, but still remember her as being a wonderful person..

    DuVonne Swenson
    Edina, MN (formerly of Kensington)