Marcella A. (O'Brien) Rooney, 84, of Decorah, died Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at her home in Decorah. Mass of Christian Burial is at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with Rev. Phillip Gibbs and Msgr. E.W. Lechtenberg officiating. Pianist is Lori Galligan. Cantor is Karie Valkosky. Hymns are "Amazing Grace," "Shepherd Me, O God," "Prayer of St. Francis," "Lead Me Lord" and "Go Make a Difference." Casket bearers are Loren Fischer, Jay Marshall, Gary Orris, Sheil Courtney, Paul Frana and Jason Uhlenhake. Burial is in St. Benedict Catholic Cemetery in Decorah. Visitation is from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, with Rosary recited at 4 p.m. and a scripture service at 7 p.m.; and Thursday, one hour before the service at the church.Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.
Marcella Agnes (O'Brien) Rooney was born July 3, 1929, in Decorah, to Francis and Elizabeth (Carolan) O'Brien. Marcella attended St. Benedict Catholic School through the eighth grade. She also attended Decorah Public School before graduating from high school at Mt. Mercy Academy in Cedar Rapids. Marcella received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids. Marcella joined the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids in 1948, taking the name Sister Steven Marie, and remained a sister for over 23 years.
Marcella was united in marriage with Harry (Rusty) Hubert Herold in Pueblo, Colo. in June, 1972, until his death in December, 1972. Marcella returned to Decorah and married Charles Anthony Rooney June 25, 1973, at St. Benedict Catholic Church. Marcella joined Charles in adopting and raising Charles's children: Ella Mae Rooney Wiemerslage, David (Annette) Rooney and his step-children: Arla (Paul) Musser Green, Sandra Musser Steward, and James (Roberta) Musser. Together they also fostered nine newborns from Catholic Charities as well as a five year-old. For five years, they babysat Jason Uhlenhake, whom she and Charlie considered a grandson. As a Sister of Mercy, Marcella taught at Immaculate Conception in Cedar Rapids, St. Joseph's in DeWitt, St. Joseph's in Marion, St. Cecelia in Ames, All Saints in Cedar Rapids and Our Lady of Grace, Edina, Minn. Marcella served as coordinator of religious education in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. She also served as religious education administrator and principal of St. Francis, Pueblo, Colo., and as a loan officer for Pueblo Colorado Credit Union after leaving the convent. Marcella was active in religious education and many committees at St. Benedict Catholic Church, including St. Mark's Circle. She was a member of the VFW Auxiliary. Marcella loved life and visiting family and friends. She loved children, and especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-granddaughter. Marcella enjoyed traveling and her annual fishing trips with Charlie to Thief River Falls, Minn. Marcella lost her battle with cancer and passed away in her home with her family at her side Sept. 6, 2013.
Marcella is survived by four children: Arla (Paul) Green of Lafayette, Ind., Sandy Steward of Albert Lea, Minn., Ellie Wiemerslage of Albert Lea, Minn. and David (Annette) Rooney of Decorah; eight grandchildren: Alicia (Ryan) Ingram, Kade and Bess Wiemerslage, Hannah, Kaitlyn, Emma, Clara, and Ellen Rooney; one great-granddaughter, Shayla Ingram; one daughter-in-law, Roberta (Manuelito) Musser of Thief River Falls, Minn.; three sisters: Mary (Roger) Fischer of Clutier, Loretta (Don) Orris of Cedar Rapids and Rose Frana of Calmar; one brother, Steve (Mary Ellen) O'Brien of Dubuque; four sisters-in-law: Fran O'Brien of Cedar Rapids, Frances Wilcox of Cedar Rapids, Rosemary (Jack) Marshall of Des Moines and Patricia (Louis) Courtney of Decorah; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and long-time friend Pat Luren.
Marcella was preceded in death by her husband, Charles, June 17, 2011; first husband, Rusty Herold; son, James Musser, Oct. 14, 2011; her parents, Frank and Bessie O'Brien; her father and mother-in-law, Walter and Rose Rooney, three brothers: Robert, Eugene and Leonard O'Brien; and one brother-in-law, Harry Wilcox.