Mary (Colwick) Orbeck

December 8, 1927 ~ August 25, 2021 (age 93)


Mary Catheryn Colwick Orbeck, 93, of Clifton, passed away on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Graveside services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday, August 28, 2021, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church Cemetery at Norse, 151 CR 4145, Clifton, TX 76634, with  Rev. R. Don Wright officiating. Indoor/outdoor visitation will be held from 5:00-6:30 Friday, August 27, 2021,  at Clifton Funeral Home. 

Mary Catheryn Colwick Orbeck was born December 8, 1927, to parents Clarence and Pearl Canuteson Colwick at home in the Norse community. She was baptized in January of 1928 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church and confirmed there in 1943. Mary had one brother, Rex, and together they grew up on the family farm.

Mary attended Norse School for four years and transferred to the Clifton Schools for the fifth grade and continued there until graduation from high school. She entered Clifton College that fall to continue her education.

Dan Orbeck had returned from WWII and he and Mary began dating. After a whirlwind courtship of three months, they married December 23, 1945, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church at Norse. She continued her studies at the college and often remarked that those were some of the happiest days of her life.

Three children blessed this marriage, Dianne, Dale and Daniel, Jr.   Mary was pleased that each child graduated from a university.  

Mary served as the President of the Board of Bosque Memorial Museum for seventeen years.   She became a member of The Costume Society of America and through this organization gained additional expertise in design and museum guidance. She excelled in display of fashions and exhibits that represented many different eras and was recognized by the Texas Historical Commission with numerous awards for excellence.  During the time of her presidency, she applied for and received grants and oversaw the addition of a west wing of the museum.  She and her husband Dan saved the Joseph Olson pioneer log cabin from destruction, had it moved to Clifton and were later instrumental in its reconstruction on the museum grounds. She applied for a Texas Historical marker which the cabin received. The Bosque County Historical Commission recognized her for her efforts in preservation of county heritage in 1994 and The Bosque Memorial Museum gave her its Heritage Award in 1996 for her contributions.

The family store, The Clifton Mercantile Company, was a commanding force within the Orbeck family and Mary joined the company to work part time when their youngest child entered school.  She dearly loved her work there and the many buying trips to Dallas with her sister-in-law, Evelyn Jackson.   Friends came to buy and visit at the store every day and each day was a fascinating adventure for her. Part time became full time and she and Dan also traveled together to market. which was a pleasure for them both. The store was sold in 1979 and Mary missed it very much.

Dan and Mary traveled extensively and enjoyed the company of her brother Rex Colwick and his wife Dorothy during their many visits to foreign and domestic destinations. Together they restored the old family home at Bee Hill Farm which had been built by their grandparents John and Mary Colwick.  The home was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, received a Texas Historical Marker and a Bosque County Historic marker.

Mary and dear friend Sue Posey entered the antiques business by having space at the Clifton Antiques Mall and enjoyed the experience for several years.  It was rewarding as Mary wanted to be in business again.  Dan wanted to get involved too so he and Mary rented more mall space so he could be included. This lasted for several years for the pleasure they got from the endeavor.

The Clifton community had always been important to Mary, and she enjoyed the association of the good friends she had made throughout the years. The Chamber of Commerce awarded her its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and she cherished the appreciation. Later she was responsible for the idea and working with Main Street in replacing the streetlamps throughout the downtown area of Clifton. Mary was a member of the Civic Improvement Society and held the offices of Secretary and President during her years of membership.

King Olav V of Norway visited the Clifton community in 1982 and Mary and Dan chaired a committee to make all arrangements for the celebration of his presence here. They were his hosts for the day and the King honored them with a visit to their home. They were charter members of the Norwegian Society of Texas since 1975 and through this organization they were tapped to entertain Royal Norwegian Consuls and Ambassadors from Norway to the United States. They received an Award of Merit from the NST in 1977.

Trinity Lutheran Church since had been her church home since she was a young bride, joining her husband, Dan, in his lifelong membership there. She was active in the women's organization, serving as president many times and enjoyed presenting programs.  Her Circle was important to her and the Bible studies within the group.  She liked giving the studies and researching the Bible. Mary also was an active member of the Church Council serving as secretary at one time and sang with the choir.  She was a charter member of the Trinity Lutheran Church Endowment Board, serving as Secretary. When her girls were young, she led the young girls in the congregation as leader of the Lutheran Daughters of The Reformation and taught Sunday School.

Living a long life was a challenge to Mary and she often wondered what she could do for the Lord during the remaining days of her life. Taking care of her husband in his days of ill health was a reward for her as she tried to make his days happy and content.  Her children Dale and Dan lovingly cared for her in her home and made life meaningful to her in her advanced years. 

Mary lived a full life and she was aware of the many blessings granted to her living out her life in the small town of Clifton.  Her faith was the mainstay in her life.  She was a “people person,” and took great interest in people and their families and had friends from all walks of life.  She was gifted with hospitality and a talent for completing many worthwhile projects and making things beautiful.  She was well organized and a bastion of common sense and sound advice.  She was an excellent homemaker and mother.  She valued her Norwegian heritage, family and local history and the extensive network of relatives in the community.  She had an encyclopedic knowledge of family relationships, history, and descent, not only for her family but for the community as well.  A rich heritage had served as a basis for living and serving.  Blessed be her memory.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents Clarence and Pearl Colwick, husband, Daniel Emerson Orbeck, Sr., and her brother Rex F. Colwick.  She is survived by her three children, grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews and cousins.

The family requests that all who attend the visitation or graveside service please observe best practices to keep everyone safe from Covid-19: (1) maintain a safe distance, (2) refrain from shaking hands, embracing, physical contact (3) sanitize your hands. Thank You!

Memorials may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, Clifton, and Clifton Lutheran Sunset Ministries.


I have been gone a little while now, but do not weep for me.

Understand that I am smiling, to at last be free.

I lived my life the best way I knew,

Loved and laughed with a special few.

You miss me, but you too will come behind me

And our reunion will be as sweet as it can be.

Heaven is so pleasant and all that I had dreamed.

Flowers, birds, all creatures, loving, without schemes.

I hope that my life as you knew it, served a purpose

And today, that I will be remembered, by those who loved me most.


My work on earth has now ended and I have found my peace.

God’s plan has faithfully worked to bring on my release.

To follow in His walk and ways while living on His earth

Was grace, to give time and thoughts of our second birth.

Remember to share in God’s great plan

With all who need your outstretched hand.

I hope that my life as you knew it, served a purpose

And today, that I will be remembered, by those who loved me most.


Written by Mary Orbeck, 2008



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary (Colwick) Orbeck, please visit our floral store.


August 27, 2021

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Clifton Funeral Home
303 South Avenue F
Clifton, TX 76634-2246

Graveside Service
August 28, 2021

10:30 AM
Norse Cemetery

© 2021 Clifton Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy