Mary Ziegler and Bill Henrichs are proof that Minnesota Nice is a thing, even after going through a divorce.

Mary Ziegler was married to Bill Heinrichs after being high school sweethearts, but after 21 years together, they realized they just weren't a match and divorced in 1995. They stayed friendly with each other, crossing paths at kids sporting events and other places around Central Minnesota.

February of 2018 rolled around through and it turns out they WERE a match. Just in a different way.

Henrichs found out his kidneys were failing, and he was in need of a transplant. Nearly 40 family members and friends were tested as possible donors, only one person turned out to be a perfect match, his ex-wife Mary Ziegler.


Mary said there was never a doubt in her mind whether or not she would give him the kidney, telling the Washington Post,

"I just immediately knew that it was going to happen, Bill and I grew up together, we had two children together. And I knew that my children and grandchildren needed their father and grandfather in their lives.”

On Oct. 16th of 2018, both Mary and Bill were wheeled into the OR of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where one of Mary's healthy kidneys was taken from her and given to her ex-husband. The operation went smoothly and the transplant is still functioning well!

Bill's current wife Linda Henrichs said:

I’m thankful that Mary really gave me Bill twice – once via divorce and once via a kidney transplant. Mary’s generous spirit and willingness to help whoever needs it is wonderful, and we are lucky to have her and her family in our lives.

Bill added in:

Divorce is divorce, but there’s no reason to squabble, there are lots of reasons why it’s important to get along. “Someday, you just might need a kidney!

These two are an awesome testiment to how even through differences and mistakes, we can all come together to help each other out no matter what happened in the past. You can read their whole story here! 

More From 96.7 The River