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Mary Anna Hesler

Mary Anna Hesler, age 74, of Payneville, KY, passed away Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown, KY.

Mary was born May 30, 1946 in Montgomery, IN to the late Leo Francis and Anna Doris Montgomery Ryan. Her husband, John D. Hesler also preceded her in death.

Her journey took her to St. Vincent DePaul in Louisville, KY where she taught 1st grade for three years, and she served as principal two of these years. While teaching in Louisville, she lived in an apartment. One afternoon, she came home to find a very tall man asleep in the hallway. He was waiting for his best friend (Mary Ann’s neighbor) to come home. She woke him up. This young man’s name was John Hesler. Mary Ann and John became friends. This friendship led to marriage on June 3, 1973.

Mary Ann moved to Brandenburg where John already resided. During the 1973-74 school year, she worked as a teacher’s aid at James R. Allen Elementary School. During the years of 1974-1977, she taught in the resource room at JRA. In 1977, Mary Ann transferred to Payneville Elementary where she taught 3rd grade until 1981. It was during this stage in her life that something happened to change the Hesler’s lives forever.

MaryAnn worked with Wayne Lamkin, the custodian at Payneville Elementary. Wayne and Margie volunteered as foster parents. The Lamkin’s brought a beautiful, young girl with auburn curls to the school chili supper. The moment Mary Ann and John laid eyes on her they knew God had answered their prayers. Mary Ann’s life purpose was being fulfilled. Mary Ann and John adopted Mary just as she turned 12.

Their family continued to grow. Mary Ann and John were attending church. Mary Ann recalled the memory of seeing a sweet, little boy sitting with his foster parent. He was holding Sylvester the cat. She knew instantly in her heart that he belonged with their family. Ryan David was 4 ½ years old when he came to live with them. These two precious children made Mary Ann’s joy complete.

As the children grew up, Mary Ann continued to teach at Payneville Elementary for a total of 33 years. Her total years in education are 43years. She has cared for many children throughout these years. In fact she has taught three generations in some families. Mary Ann’s unconditional love, unequal generosity, and passion for teaching have made an incredible impact on her family, colleagues, former students and family.

She is survived by two children: Mary Leola (Mike) Hutchison of Stephensport, KY and Ryan David (Jody) Hesler of Jeffersonville, IN; two sisters: Sarah (Dan) “Sally” Halbig of Owensboro, KY and Peggy (Charlie) Bridgewater of Loogootee, IN; brother, Patrick (Carol) Ryan of Loogootee, IN; six grandchildren: Chelsea, Chandler, Tristian, Amy, and Bryan; and two great-grandchildren: Elena and Claire.

The family will have a private Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, January 9 2021 at St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi Church in Payneville, KY with burial to follow in St. Mary Cemetery. The service will be streamed on the Bruington-Jenkins-Sturgeon Funeral Home Facebook beginning at 11:00 AM.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi Church, PO Box 110, Payneville, KY 40157.

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