Gardening 02

Mary E Jennings

August 22, 1933 ~ June 21, 2022 (age 88)


Mary Elizabeth Jennings died June 21, 2022. She was born to Ottis and Mayme (Conrad) Bontrager on August 22, 1933 at home in rural Clinton County, Michigan. She attended a one room school for her elementary grades, then graduated from St. Johns High School in 1951. Post-secondary schooling included studies at Goshen College (IN), University of Michigan, California State University at San Bernardino, and the University of Idaho. She received her B.A. in 1968 and finished her 5th year for a teaching credential in 1972.

In 1954 Mary married Ernest William Jennings. They lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan as he finished his studies for a college degree, and she earned her PHT (Put Hubby Through) while serving as a clinic clerk at the University Hospital. They lived in Rialto and Twin Peaks, California for over 20 years before moving to Cottonwood, Idaho in 1979. Both Ernie and Mary taught in the Cottonwood Schools for sixteen years, retiring in 1995. Mary taught fifth and sixth grades. They enjoyed life’s adventures together for nearly 60 years.

After retiring they enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, camping in many lovely places in Idaho and around the West. She was always ready to explore by truck, car, four-wheeler, canoe, raft or hiking boots.

Idaho provided her the soil and climate to be a successful gardener, which she especially enjoyed. She readily shared her garden or fruit tree bounty with family and friends. Her relish and jellies, along with apple pie, bread, sweet rolls, cookies and chocolate cake were favorites.

Singing was significant throughout Mary’s life, including choirs in church, college and the Cottonwood Community Choir. She sewed her children’s clothes for many years, designed practical covers upon spousal request and knitted sweaters. She was an avid reader. A local book club was particularly joyful in later years for the “deep discussions” and companionship.

Surviving Mary are a son and two daughters: Douglas Jennings (Karen) of Central, UT; Donna Ostrowski (Mike) of Castro Valley, CA; Susan Dalbey (Steve) of Glasgow MT; seven grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband Ernest, her grandchild Kevin Ostrowski, and her sister Kathryn Swartzendruber.

A celebration of her life will take place at Greencreek Community Hall on August 13, 2022 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Please join the family for dinner and sharing memories. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. You may submit condolence to the family at

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to: Idaho Public Television, Washington/Idaho Symphony, Historical Museum at St. Gertrude.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary E Jennings, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Mary

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Celebration of Life
August 13, 2022

4:00 PM
Greencreek Community Hall
1062 Greencreek Rd
Greencreek, ID 83522
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