Mary Ann Joyce Sarja, age 83, of Swan River, MN passed away on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at St. Luke’s Hospital, Duluth, MN.

Mary Ann was born in 1936 to Oiva and Elvie Kangas in Thompson Township, Carlton County, MN. She graduated from Cloquet High School and then attended nursing school at St. Luke’s Nursing School in Duluth, MN. Mary Ann was united in marriage to Eugene Sarja on July 13, 1957 in Cloquet, MN. The couple moved to the Swan River area, and Mary Ann worked as a nurse at Itasca Memorial Hospital for 29 years until she retired in 1991.

She loved sewing, quilting, and gardening. She was a 4-H leader for 40 years, and a member of the Bethel Lutheran Church where she was active with WELCA.

Preceded in death by her parents; one brother, William Kangas; and sister, JoAnn Koskela.

She is survived by her husband, Eugene; three daughters, Stephanie (Alex) Pochucha of Champlin, MN; Christine Sarja of Shakopee, MN, and Catherine Sarja of Shakopee, MN; one son, Kevin Sarja of Swan River, MN; two sisters, Judy (Larry) Johnson of Esko, MN, and Kathleen Kangas of Maple Grove, MN; two grandchildren, Michelle (Jordan) Danielson and Michael Pochucha; two sisters-in-law, Ingrid Heikkila and Karen (Joe) Aalto; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM at Bethel Lutheran Church in Warba, MN followed by the 11:00 AM Funeral Service. Rev. Mark and Brenda Wagner will officiate. Burial will be at Sago Cemetery, Sago Township, MN.

Arrangements are with Rowe Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids, MN. To sign the online guestbook or send condolences visit