By Starrla Cray
WINSTED Holy Trinity Catholic School in Winsted is a happy place for Marnie Ebensperger, who recently retired after four decades of teaching first grade.
The school is not only where Marnie worked, but also where she met her husband, Marv, and formed many long-lasting friendships.
Marnie grew up in Lakeville, and later attended the College at St. Benedict in St. Joseph.
“It took me a long time to pick a major,” she recalled. Eventually, she settled on elementary education, as she had done a lot of babysitting through the years and enjoyed being with children. Her roommate, Rosie Hertel, was also planning to become a teacher.
Marnie’s first teaching job was at a small Catholic school in Red Lake Falls, a town east of Grand Forks with a population of about 1,500. Meanwhile, Hertel got a job at Holy Trinity in Winsted. Two years later, Hertel told Marnie about an opening to teach fourth grade at Holy Trinity.
Marnie applied, but wasn’t offered the position. Instead, she accepted an offer to teach in the Bahamas, where her sister lived. Before she started, however, Marnie’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she decided to stay closer to home.
Holy Trinity then asked her to teach first grade, and she accepted.
“It was nice coming here,” she said. “There were a lot of new, young teachers that year.”
The teachers often spent time together on weekends, which is how Marnie met her husband, Marv, who is known as “Mr. E.” After they got married, Marnie automatically became “Mrs. E.”
Although the couple taught in the same school, their jobs are “totally different,” according to Marnie. While Marv teaches science and math to high school students, Marnie’s days revolved around a much younger demographic.
“I taught first grade the whole 40 years,” she said.
First grade is a rewarding age to teach, Marnie said, explaining that “they all love their teacher, and most of them love school.”
Her favorite subject to teach was reading.
“You can actually see when they get it,” she said.
Although the age group was the same year to year, Marnie said every class and every student is unique. Building relationships with students and their families was always a priority for her, and she has become friends with many parents.
In retirement, Marnie plans to help with church work at Holy Trinity, but she hasn’t committed to a specific volunteer schedule yet.
She’s also been busy sewing, and was recently working on shortening a bridesmaid’s dress. Marnie and her sisters are all expert quilters, and a story about their work appeared in the Aug. 4, 2003 edition of the Herald Journal.
One of Marnie’s main reasons for retiring at this time was to be able to attend her grandchildren’s activities. Her daughter in North Carolina has two children, and her son in Richmond also has two children.
“This fall, my oldest grandson started first grade,” Marnie said. “Now, I get to see it from a different side.”