Obituary: Mary Parcheta
– March 8, 2022
Mary Elizabeth Parcheta was recovering from a stroke last summer, and took great pride in resuming her winter passion of skiing at her Colorado home this past winter. She suffered a fall in January and courageously fought to recover, yet on March 8th made the decision to spend the rest of eternity at her “feels like” age, decades younger than her actual years spent on this earth.
Mary lived her life to the fullest and spent everyday in search of new athletic challenges, volunteering for many community organizations, having fun with friends, spending time with her family, and bragging about her granddaughters. As an Iowa farm girl she started in nursing school and later adventured to California to pursue a career with Autonetics who contracted with NASA and the space program. She met her life love Jack on a ski trip for singles, and the rest just evolved for both of them.
Mary pursued raising a family but soon was ready for more challenges. In the late 70’s the family relocated to Stillwater, Minnesota, where Mary found the opportunity to take up competitive waterskiing. She went on to eventually win multiple national titles in slalom waterskiing, competing (and winning!) against competitors several years her junior.
Shortly after her kids left the house, Mary took on the Head Coach role for Stillwater’s Alpine Ski team. Over her 25 seasons coaching for Stillwater, she led her athletes to numerous Conference championships and 24 appearances at the State meet. Her love for the sport inspired several generations of skiers, and her continued involvement with teen athletes kept her feeling young. Full retirement was never Mary’s thing, so even after leaving race coaching she continued her career of more than four decades as a ski instructor, teaching for Wild Mountain, Blizzard Ski School and Ski-Away. She also competed in alpine racing in the Ski Challenge league, and won her age bracket at Nastar Nationals several years running. Mary recently relocated to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where she enjoyed skiing with her friends and family whenever she could.
Whenever she wasn’t waterskiing or snow skiing, Mary stayed active in the community, volunteering at her granddaughter’s school and performing community service through Stillwater Sunrise Rotary and their Strive mentoring program for youth. She took special pride in supporting a boat-building project for Stillwater Alternative Learning Center, in partnership with Urban Boatbuilders, Rotary and Stillwater ALC. She thoroughly enjoyed mentoring students at the ALC, helping them see their potential in life.
Mary is predeceased by her parents Elaine Peiffer Gunderson, Ernest Peiffer, and Lud Gunderson, husband Jack Parcheta, sister Carol Hartman and son-in-law Jeff Scheidt. She is survived by her siblings Ben Peiffer (Mary Charlene), Bob Peiffer (Mary Sophie) and Peg (Mike) McNamara; brother-in-law Joe Hartman; her children Renee (Mike Johnston), Dan (Jessica) and Tracy; granddaughters Macayla Scheidt and Lila Parcheta, plus her beloved dog Ginger.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family for disbursement among Stillwater Alpine Booster Club, Urban Boatbuilders (designated to Stillwater ALC), and Denver Hospice. A celebration of life is planned for this summer.
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