Mary Kukstsys

Mary Kukstys

September 16, 1931 – January 26, 2024

VISITATION: Friday, February 2nd from 4pm to 6pm at the West Center Chapel.  FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, February 3rd at 10am at Rejoice Lutheran Church, 2556 S. 138th St.  Entombment, Resurrection Mausoleum.  In lieu of flowers and plants, memorials are suggested to Arlington School Foundation or Rejoice Lutheran Church.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.


Mary (Kasun) Kukstys, age 92, was born on September 16, 1931 to Marica (Pavlick) and Ivan Kasun in Severin Na Kupi, Yugoslavia along with her older sister, Katica, and older brothers, Mirko and Mate.

Mary grew up tending chickens, cows, and crops and went to school for only a few years.  Following her sister’s marriage and her brothers’ passing, she fled to Austria after making multiple attempts.  In Austria, she was chosen to work in the fields.  She boarded a ship and entered Ellis Island.  With luck she was chosen to enter the United States.  For a little while she was in Chicago and then made her way to Omaha.

In Omaha, she was helped by her mom’s sister and their daughter.  Mom quickly took cooking jobs at Old Vienna Café and Bohemian Café.  During that time, she met Ignas Kukstys whom she married in August of 1960.  Ignas and Mary were married for 47 years and raised two daughters.

Mom never forgot her sister and three boys in Yugoslavia.  In 1970, she and her two girls visited her sister and family for six weeks.  While there, she made a point to purchase a headstone for her mom and dad.

Mom continued as a cook for Immanuel Hospital and the Sisters of Mercy.  She cooked for many retreats.  She then got her Nurse’s Aid License and worked for the Notre Dame Sisters.  At the end of her career, she worked as a housekeeper and caretaker.

Mom’s passions were praising the Lord, cooking, and gathering with family and friends.  She traveled to Virginia via car and plane to see her daughter and family, and by plane to visit a friend in Chicago.

Mom spent her last 15 ½ years with her daughter, Irene and her husband, David.  After she suffered a stroke in January of 2021, Irene and David cared for her.  Her daughter Mary and family visited on occasion and spoke to her most days.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Ignas Kukstys; grandson, Matthew Purchase; sister, Katica Rozman; brothers, Mate Kasun and Mirko Kasun.  She is survived by her children: Mary Hall (David) and Irene Purchase (David); two grandchildren, Alex and Christopher; and close friends.




  • Denise Speicher-Sloan Posted January 29, 2024 9:54 am

    Heartfelt Hugs from our family to yours Irene…your mom was a Very Special Lady with an incredible journey. She will be missed. I feel very Blessed to have had the opportunity to meet your mom Irene….we see her shining through you. Denise ❤️

  • Erin and Gene Scrivner and Family Posted January 30, 2024 12:04 pm

    We send our deepest condolences to your family. Mary was a wonderful woman and always a pleasure to see when we visited your home. She will be greatly missed!

  • Jennifer Kasun Burnett Posted January 30, 2024 6:26 pm

    My deepest condolences to you Irene, Mary, and families. I have fond memories of Mary from my youth and she is often a central figure in stories I tell of the Kasun family. She and my dad Tony, her cousin, had a sweet relationship. I have a vivid memory of a Kasun family gathering at Mary and Ingas’s house where my dad was cooking stuffed cabbage. I loved her accent and babushka. She was a rare person with an incredible history. I loved reading the details you shared of her life. I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend her funeral but send love and prayers from South Carolina.

  • Susan Roehr Dyrda Posted February 1, 2024 8:49 am

    We are very sorry and sad about the loss of Mary . Our hearts go out to you. Mary was a wonderful woman and dear friend to our Mother Ann and Father Al Roehr and to my brothers Mike and Frank and my husband Tom and myself Susan . We loved Maria and we have many wonderful memories of her . You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers . We pray that God gives you strength and comforts you at this very sad and difficult time . With Love and deepest Sympathy , the Roehr family

  • David Barkovic and family Posted February 14, 2024 11:32 am

    Our Deepest condolences and condolences on loss of Dear Mother, Grandmother and a Friemd ! Our thoughts , Prayers and love are with you all ! It won’t be long now, we shall see all of our Loved family and friends when JESUS COMES ! IT WILL HAPPEN VERY SOON, HEBREWS 9; 29. N..I. V. All our !ove. 🌹❤️✝️🙏🏻

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