Cover photo for Mary Mercer Krogness's Obituary
Mary Mercer Krogness Profile Photo

Mary Mercer Krogness

July 10, 1938 — January 24, 2024

Cleveland Heights

Mary Mercer Krogness

Mary Mercer Krogness, born to Edith Knesal and Thomas A. Mercer on July 10, 1938, attended the College of Wooster and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from The Ohio State University in 1961. In 1973 she earned a Master of Science degree in education from John Carroll University. As a writing student, Krogness attended Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College, at Lincoln College, Oxford, England.

 

Krogness was a devoted teacher. While in the Shaker Heights public schools, Mary taught grades three through eight, and at Cleveland State University where she taught undergraduate students (teachers-to-be) Children's Literature and English/Language Arts Methods, K-8. For nearly thirty years she taught in the Shaker Heights City School District, the Columbus Public Schools, the District of Columbia School District which had a Ford Foundation grant to serve students in the most impoverished schools in the district and the Cleveland Municipal School District, where she specialized in teaching creative writing. Upon retirement from the Shaker Heights public schools, she taught creative writing at Hathaway Brown School, an independent school in Shaker Heights, OH.

 

Mary Krogness led her elementary school students of Shaker Heights to write original operettas—original librettos, lyrics and musical scores for "The Flood That Saved the Day," an operetta performed for students and students' families. Mary taught a wide variety of students who were socio-economically, racially and linguistically diverse. She was most interested in urban children and teenagers and in urban education. Krogness, who was a middle school English teacher at the time of her retirement, volunteered three days a week for five years at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center for teenage boys and girls who were incarcerated and where Mary started an art program for the teenagers. Later she volunteered at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry where she taught a literacy and mothering course to teenage mothers.

 

In 1963 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, Krogness heard the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak for the first time at a northern white suburban church. Mary was a member of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a social justice organization; she was a member of the Board of Trustees at the Free Medical Clinic of Cleveland. In Washington, DC, 1968, she marched with 50,000 others in the Poor People's March in which equality and opportunity were advocated.

 

Mary Krogness was a professional writer who wrote and produced "Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright," an award-winning creative writing series for WVIZ/PBS designed for middle school students. She wrote two books: "Just Teach Me, Mrs. K.," an English/ language arts book; she authored the sixth-grade textbook, "Houghton Mifflin English." Krogness also wrote numerous articles for newspapers and professional journals about the teaching of writing, particularly in the publications of the National Council of Teachers of English.  She was a regular presenter at national English teachers' conferences, having given a keynote speech at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the National Council of Teachers of English. Mary was invited to participate in the landmark English Coalition Conference in 1987 and the International Federation of Teachers of English Conference at New York University. Krogness was awarded the Master Teacher Award, the highest honor given to teachers by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation of Cleveland, OH, enabling her to write, study and travel during a semester off from teaching. She was presented with her alma mater's distinguished alumna award from the Salem High School Alumni Association, Salem, OH. Mary was awarded The Ohio State Broadcasting Award for "Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright.”

 

Mary was preceded in death by her parents.  She is survived by her beloved husband of 51 years, John Krogness, who supported her in all her endeavors. 

 

She is also survived by her brother, Thomas J. Mercer (the late Marilyn Mercer); her niece, Annie Mercer Womble (Tripp); her nephew, Andrew Mercer (Kathryn) and great nieces, Claire Mercer and Luella Womble and great nephew, Will Mercer.

 

Mary had recently undertaken an effort to raise funds for the reconstruction of New Life at Calvary Church, which had been severely hit by an EF-1 tornado, causing damage estimated at $6,000,000.  She made a list of foundations, philanthropists, and influential people she knew who could enlist others to join the effort.  Instead of flowers, Mary would have preferred that contributions be made to New Life at Calvary Church, 2020 E. 79th Street, Cleveland, OH 44103.

 

A service will be held in the sanctuary in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44106 at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, with a reception to follow in Tucker Hall. 

 

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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