Marie Bany
Marie Bany
Serving as a missionary for 10 years in two different African countries highlights the life of this week's featured Ostrander Care & Rehab resident, Marie Bany. She has lived at our facility since 2008.

In the mid 1920s, Edward W. and Amanda Mundfrom, along with their four children, Gerald, Edward, Ruby, and Wilma, moved from Bremer County, Iowa, to a farm south of Cherry Grove. Adam Hamilton now owns the building site of the former Mundfrom farm, while the farmland is owned by others. Marie was born in 1927, followed by Frederick and Emma. Marie and Frederick are the only survivors of the seven children.

She was baptized and confirmed at the Saetersdal Lutheran Church of rural Harmony. Despite relocating a number of times, she always found and joined a congregation near her home. Following membership at Grace Lutheran in Tripoli, Iowa, Marie is now a member of Trinity Lutheran in Ostrander. "Her faith has always meant a lot to her," remarks her niece, Kathy.

After graduating from Wykoff High School in 1945, she enrolled at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Because of limited finances, Marie attended college, then taught country school, earning enough money to return to college. After teaching school in Chester, Iowa, she again returned to college, completing her elementary education degree in 1952. She then taught two years at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School in Winona.

Marie then attended what was called the Lutheran Bible Institute in St. Paul followed by French language training at Alliance Francaise in Paris. She can't recall what really inspired her to become a missionary, although her niece, Kathy Kappers, believes that Kathy's grandparents likely encouraged her. Her brother Gerald, who had wanted to be a missionary but had a childhood illness that prevented him from pursing his dream, also likely influenced her.

Marie's initial missionary assignment was in Cameroon in west Central Africa, serving there from the mid- to late-1950s. She taught reading, writing, and arithmetic to the children and they taught her their language, Gbaya.

Following a yearlong furlough in the United States, she returned to the mission field, this time to the Central African Republic known in French as Republique Centrafricain, for another five-year commitment. Eventually, she returned home, becoming a social worker in Colorado.

In 1994, she married Ted Bany of Sumner, Iowa, and was his constant companion until his death.

Marie, because of macular degeneration, became a nursing home resident in Iowa before relocating to Ostrander Care & Rehab.