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Mary Frances Hawley Sasse
Heyer Anvil Cloud at Sunset

Beloved Educator Passes Away on August 4th, 2019

After complications from a fall, Mary Sasse passed away peacefully on August 4, 2019, surrounded by loving family.

Mary Frances Hawley Sasse was born July 9, 1932, in Argyle, Wisconsin. She received a BS in English in 1964 and an MS in English in 1967 from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PHD in English Education from Southern Illinois University in 1979. She taught English at McFarland Community School in 1965, Carbondale Community High School 1967-1992, John A. Logan Community College 1995-1996, and Southern Illinois University 1997-1998.

Dr. Sasse was recognized by the Carbondale Jaycees as an “Outstanding Educator,” Carbondale Community High School as the First Outstanding Teacher, and Phi Delta Kappa as “Distinguished Educator.” She held offices and was honored in professional associations: NCTE, IATE, SIATE, MELUS, ASAIL. She wrote and published professional papers , and edited manuscripts for journals and books. Sasse also judged writing contests, gave talks, and received an NEH grant to study in Cambridge, England. She was a pioneer in teaching diversity through literature and writing. She also sponsored many students to take ACT and SAT tests , and helped students with their writing for entrance essays and dissertations.

Sasse was Co-chair of the first Jr. Human Relations Club at CCHS with Art Black. In January 2014, she received the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commitment to Service Award for, “her commitment to Peace, Justice,and Social Change.”

Her travels included Sweden, England, China, Mexico, Switzerland, Spain, Alaska, France, Greece, and many places in the United States.

Sasse was married on December 29, 1951, to the love of her life, Dr. Edward B. Sasse. They were married for 43 years. He preceeded her in death in 1994. She leaves a sister, Joyce Schuler of San Diego, California, and a brother, Albert George Hawley, of Madison Wisconsin.

Mary is survived by : Wendy Sasse Carr and her husband Steven David Carr and their children: Christopher and Jennifer Carr, great grandchildren Aidan, Noah, and Simon, all in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Drs. Steven and Mary Carr and great grandson Benjamin of Columbia , MO.; Dr. Julie Sasse of Tucson, Arizona; Sara Sasse Agren and her husband Ola Agren and her children Julia and Adam Granlund of Stockholm, Sweden; and Cindy Sasse Miller and her husband Claude Henry Miller III and their children Claude Henry Miller IV, Caroline Miller, and Kristen Miller, all of Plano, Texas. She also leaves many nieces, nephews, students, and friends.

Sasse was preceded in death by her parents Grace Rose Hirsbrunner and Homer Garth Hawley of Argyle, Wisconsin.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to:

 Southern Poverty Law Center


University of Wisconsin Foundation Diversity Fund

Carbondale Community High School Foundation