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Columbia Missourian

Mary Dierkes remembered as caring teacher and friend

By Leah Beane
July 5, 2012 | 7:19 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Mary Dierkes was the kind of teacher that her pupils remembered for years. She often got invited to graduation parties, and as students got older, even their weddings. 

Mary (Hackmann) Dierkes of Columbia died of cancer Wednesday, July 4, 2012. She was 59.


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Ms. Dierkes was born May 4, 1953, in Marthasville to Wilbert and Marcella Hackmann. She married Rob Dierkes on June 28, 1975.

Mrs. Dierkes graduated from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) with a degree in education and taught math at Monett Junior High, Jefferson Junior High School, MU and Columbia Catholic School.

Mrs. Dierkes had the ability to help her students thrive no matter their skill level, longtime colleague Widget Ewing said. She tutored those students who needed extra help and entered the students who were gifted in math in competitions.

“She had teams that did remarkably well for a little Catholic school,” Ewing said. “She sent so many kids on to high school more equipped to take the harder classes. She made math fun for those kids.”

For example, for “Pi Day” on March 14, Mrs. Dierkes wrote out the digits of pi on a long piece of paper that wrapped around the school and brought in round foods such as pizza and pie to learn about the number.

“Her students adored her,” Ewing said.

The two women were friends outside of work as well, able to talk to each other to deal with any stresses in their lives.

Mrs. Dierkes was very caring, Ewing said. “If she thought I was having a bad day, I’d wind up with flowers the next day.”

Mrs. Dierkes cared deeply for her family. While undergoing treatment for cancer, she loved being able to see her grandchildren and enjoyed taking care of them, Ewing said. Besides teaching at Columbia Catholic School, Mrs. Dierkes was heavily involved in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and was a youth minister alongside her husband in Monett.

Mrs. Dierkes is survived by her husband, Rob; her daughter, Michelle Hall of Columbia; her sons, Patrick and Benjamin Dierkes of Columbia; her grandsons, Quentin and Konrad Hall of Columbia; her brothers, Charles Hackmann and his wife, Diane, of Omaha, Neb., Michael Hackmann and his wife, Linda, of Marthasville, James Hackmann and his wife, Sandy, of Rogers, Ark., and Thomas Hackmann and his wife, Joan, of Villa Ridge; Rob’s seven siblings and their spouses; and many nieces, nephews, godchildren, cousins and friends.

Her daughter, Rachel; her parents; and her parents-in-law, Robert and Marcella Dierkes, died earlier.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 903 Bernadette Drive, Columbia, MO 65203.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Lourdes. Interment will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia, MO 65202.

Supervising editor is Jake Kreinberg.