Mansi McClure Kern, 89, of Tesuque, died Monday, August 5th, peacefully in her own home.
Mansi, the oldest of five children, was born to the late Helena Modjeska Chase Johnson Drea and Harry McClure Johnson, April 16th, 1924, in Winetka, Illinois. Mansi graduated from Putney (High) School, Putney Vermont, in 1942 and then attended Benningon College for three years, leaving due to illness then finished up her degree as a teacher from Colorado College in 1970. She married Val Sigstedt , then Ken Kern; mostly, though, raising her four children as a single parent. She moved to Santa Fe in 1951 for a few years then returned permanently in 1963.
Mansi had a life-long career as a folk dance teacher with both children and adults, teaching at Loretto Academy, four of the northern Indian pueblos, also privately and she performed as a professional musician/accordionist all over the country, including Aspen, Colorado, Idyllwild, California and Santa Fe New Mexico and was a violinist for the Santa Fe Symphony in the early days. Mansi collected, interviewed and archived many of the Spanish Colonial New Mexican Folk Music and Dances and musicians; playing with the viejitos in the remote villages to learn the music ; this in the mid sixties, performed with her music group, The Festival Folk Ensemble (which also included many of her grown children and grandchildren and family members) for over 20 years at the Santa Fe Fiesta, Taos Fiesta, Pagosa Springs Fiesta, Las Vegas Fiesta, Baille Cascarones, Las Golondrinas, El Nido and many other venues and coordinated an exhibition dance group often at the same time, played at nursing homes and hospitals and was a familiar face and participant with Baille Cascarones each year, displaying her great dance ability and knowledge and passion for the local traditional dances. She will be dearly missed at those dances!
She built the “Pavillion Melodia”, a large circular dance and performance and teaching center on Avenida Melodia, Tesuque and held many dances and musical events there. She was also an avid proponent of organic foods since high school, being way ahead of her time in that aspect and she was a guiding light for that life style, which, for many, now, is standard practice. She also was an ardent pacifist, anti-nuclear advocate and nature lover, "back-to-the-lander", defender of racial and cultural equality. Recently she could be seen as an iconic figure gracefully enjoying the Summer Music on the Plaza concerts ; was dancing on the plaza only a few weeks ago. She was, truly; a Santa Fe treasure.
Mansi is survived by four children: Shawn Sigstedt of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Thor Sigstedt of Spirit Valley below Canoncito; Anhara Lovato of Tesuque and Tanya Kern of Tesuque and Phoenix, Arizona. She also is survived by eight grandchildren (Todd, Juniper and Nico Lovato; Tara Pack, Dylan and Sophia (Sigstedt); Lief and Olin Sigstedt and two great-grandsons ( Abe and Torsten Pack). She is also survived by her two sisters, Elizabeth Stickney and Priscilla Paetsch and her nephew, Bristol Stickney.
There will be a memorial on October 12, 2013. Musicians and friends are invited to bring their instruments and others can grab a maraca and join in the festivities. Please bring memories and photos and a simple food offering to the event. Any flowers and decorations can be brought at that time. Please call 505-466-4403 for more information or go to http://thor-sigstedt.blogspot.com for more details.