Mary Newman


Mary Elisabeth Newman of Fargo, ND passed away on December 15, 2021 surrounded by her children. Mary was 86 years old.

Born Mary Elisabeth Harwood in Fillmore, ND, she was the sixth child of Russell and Clara (Nestegard) Harwood. Mary attended school in Moorhead until going with her brother Charles to Augustana Academy in Canton, SD for high school. She attended Mayville State Teachers College and taught elementary school in Prosper and Cleveland, ND.

Mary and Harold Newman were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN on May 31, 1953.

After living and working in Moorhead while Harold finished college, the young couple moved to Jamestown, ND where they started Newman Signs. Mary spent the next thirty plus years raising their five children. She was active in her church, teaching Sunday School and serving as an officer in both the Ladies Aid and the Church Council. While raising her family she became an accomplished Duplicate Bridge player, reaching the designation of Life Master.

Mary loved music. She played the piano and loved to sing. She also enjoyed reading, traveling, art and designing, building, and decorating homes. She very much enjoyed having guests in her homes. She was a welcoming, no-fuss hostess who enjoyed visits from family, friends of family and her own friends.

Mary was a very generous person. There are many charities, churches, colleges, and individuals that Mary and Harold helped support throughout the years. In 2017, Mary received a Lifetime Achievement-Legacy of Giving Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Sharing was important to her, as she felt because of her faith and her many blessings, she should be generous. She helped fund domestic violence shelters in Jamestown, Detroit Lakes, MN and Grand Forks, all of which are named “Mary’s Place”.

Faith and family were very important to Mary. Her sisters and brother Charles were among her best friends throughout her life. She enjoyed her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren very much.

Mary is survived by four children: Kari (Leo) Ness of Jamestown, ND, Nancy (Scott) Erickson of Fargo, ND, Ruth (Sheldon) Tang of Minneapolis, MN and Cheryl (Brent) Olson of Fargo, ND; her nineteen grandchildren: Kyle (Tara), Matthew (Amber), Ty (Sacha), Jake, and Russell “Boomer” (Laura) Newman, Rachel (Chris) Ebeling, Mary (Blake) Nybakken, Nancy (Joe Parmer) and Leo Kristian Ness, Clara (Steven Daniels) , AJ (Natalie) Erickson, Elizabeth (Josh) Alsager, Nils (Abigail), Leif, Kai and Maiken Tang, Ruth, Charles and Grace Olson. Mary is also survived by thirty-two great-grandchildren, daughter-in-law Audrey, step-grandson William Wadsworth; brother Charles and BJ Newman. She was preceded in death by her husband Harold, her son Russell, her parents, brothers Richard and Lloyd and sisters Esther Watson and Ruth Rabenburg.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 19 at 2:00pm at Hope Lutheran Church - South Campus. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to any of the three Mary’s Place shelters: Mary’s Place at Safe Shelter in Jamestown, ND, Mary’s Place at LCRC in Detroit Lakes, MN or Mary’s Place at CVIC in Grand Forks, ND or to donors’ choice.

Memories and online condolences may be shared by visiting

Arrangements entrusted to Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, Fargo, ND.

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