Mary Fenske


Mary Marcia Haville Fenske was born on January 26, 1941, in Superior, Wisconsin. She is the daughter of George and Isabella Prentiss Haville. She attended high school at West High, Madison, Wisconsin, where her parents had moved. In her senior year of high school, she received a scholarship to study piano at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After two years of intensive study with Madame Olga Conas, a graduate of a Russian Conservatory, and playing an exam in front of the Conservatory faculty, she received a certificate in piano performance. Two more years of study were then completed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. At the completion of this degree, Ms. Fenske took an elementary school teaching position in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she taught string and band instruments in seven schools.

Her next job was in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, where she taught general music in elementary schools.

Mount Horeb had just been consolidated, so she had one-, two- and four-room schools, all of which included grades one through eight. Mary started a band instrumental teaching program with many students signing on to learn a band instrument and continuing on to play in the junior and senior high bands.

Mary moved to Bloomington, Indiana, and completed a Master’s in Music Education at IU. She also studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, and took summer classes at Ball State University in Orff Schulwerk. She became very active in the Indiana Orff Schulwerk Association, holding various officer positions. She contributed teaching suggestions, arrangements and original compositions in the Orff style.

She took a teaching position in Columbus, Indiana, teaching first at Wayne Township School and finishing at Southside Elementary, where she taught for 23 years. She retired in 2006, having taught elementary music for 39½ years. Mary then took a teaching assistant position at Rock Creek Elementary in kindergarten and later first grades.

A stroke in 2009 ended a long career of over 40 years of working with young students.

It prevented her from returning to her home where she missed working in the yard and garden that she had designed and planted in order to become a registered Urban Wildlife Sanctuary.

She was an avid supporter of Animal Rights and a contributor to animal organizations that were working to give animals a better life. She did feed the squirrels, chipmunks and birds at Four Seasons where she lived. Her daughter helped every day in filling the feeders with seed.

Mary’s favorite pastimes were reading, traveling, observing wildlife and birds, and spending time with her cats. She traveled to every state of the U.S. and all the continents of the world. Her favorite trips were to Australia and Antarctica.

She was a lifetime member of SAI (Sigma Alpha Iota), a professional music organization, American Orff Schulwerk, Indiana Orff Schulwerk and a member of the Columbus Elks and of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

She is survived by a daughter, Rebecca Fenske, of Columbus, Indiana a brother, George Douglas (Beth) Haville of Hot Springs, Arkansas; and six nieces.

Cremation is planned. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on May 5, 2016, at 4 p.m. Calling will be held at the church one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at a later date in the Bagley Cemetery, Bagley, Wisconsin.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are requested for the music program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and for animal welfare organizations, i.e.: Humane Society of the U.S., Bartholomew County Humane Society, Columbus Animal Shelter, CARE, or the donors’ choice of other animal charities.

Arrangements were made by Barkes, Weaver & Glick Funeral Home.

Online condolences and special memories may be shared with Mary’s family at