Durango resident Marjorie Anna Kerstiens died of cancer Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, in Durango. She was 87.
She was born to Benjamin and Beulah (McBride) Heye on April 18, 1924, on a homestead in Wauneta, Neb. Her family moved to Denver in 1936, and she graduated from Bear Creek High School in 1942.
After Mrs. Kerstiens joined the Navy as a nurse corpsman in 1944, she was stationed at Hutchinson Naval Air Base in Kansas until her honorable discharge in 1946.
“She was always extremely proud of being a veteran and her service to her country during World War II,” her family said.
On Nov. 23, 1946, she married childhood friend Frank Kerstiens in Denver. They moved to a dairy farm north of Simla.
In 1957, the Kerstiens moved into Simla, and Mrs. Kerstiens began her nursing career as an evening shift charge nurse at The Good Samaritan Center nursing home. She worked there until her retirement in 1989.
Mr. Kerstiens preceded her in death after 37 years of marriage in 1984.
After her retirement, Mrs. Kerstiens moved to Buena Vista.
She met Wayne Blossom there, and they married on Aug. 10, 1994, in Buena Vista. The couple enjoyed traveling and wintering in Truth or Consequences, N.M., until his death in 2004.
In Buena Vista, Mrs. Kerstiens was involved in AARP, Young at Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, American Legion Post No. 55 and any card group she could help organize, especially if pennies were involved, her family said.
In December 2006, she moved to Durango with her daughter and son-in-law, Verna and John Gross. She organized a canasta group and rarely missed watching Denver Broncos football.
Mrs. Kerstiens was also preceded in death by her stepgrandson, Jon Garcia and great-grandson, Ayden Busch.
She is survived by her daughter, Verna Gross, of Durango; son, Lyle Kerstiens, of Santa Fe; brother William Heye of Denver; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon Friday, March 16, 2012, at St. Columba Catholic Church, 1830 East Second Ave. Mrs. Kerstiens donated her body to science at the University of Arizona Medical School. Burial will occur next to her husband, Frank Kerstiens, at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions donations may be sent to Volunteers of America, 3160 E. Animas Village Drive, Durango, CO 81301; or a hospice of one’s choice.