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 www.heafeyheafey.com 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.