Mary at 26 and mother of two young girls     Mary in Bucharest, Romania

Mary at 26 in Sacramento and in Bucharest in 2014

Mary passed away on Feb 1, 2018.

At her bedside at home, she was surrounded by her husband, four children (Cathy, Jenny, Brian, and David), Cathy's daughter Tori, David's wife Jen, and their son Lucas, born Dec 1, 2017. We held Mary's hands and kissed her as she departed this life at 7:50 pm. She has now been relieved of the suffering she had endured from the cancer that had ravaged her body. She was a woman of great faith and has crossed the great divide and is now in God’s hands.

Visit to see Christmas cards dating back to 1978 and Mary-authored Christmas letters from 1995. The letters are accompanied by many family photos. We had been married for over 51 years.

I have saved some emails from the days just prior to her passing.

Events of February 10

The Funeral Mass

On Saturday February 10, 2018, we celebrated her life at an 11 am Mass at St. Julie's Catholic Church at 2475 Borchard Road in Newbury Park, CA. Father Paul Hruby and Deacon Dave Smith presided. I delivered a eulogy and two of our children—Brian and Cathy—did the readings. This 4-page booklet served as a handout at the Mass.

Father Paul became our pastor on July 1, 2010, after having previously served in Pico Rivera, Van Nuys, and Glendale. His warmth and his extroverted personality have endeared him to all who cross his path. He successfully undertook a major remodeling project of the church, and then, in 2014, he and two companions walked over 500 miles across northern Spain from Hendaye, France (or Irún, Spain) to Santiago de Compostela. A newspaper article accompanied by a map describes their travels along this pilgrimage trail, known as El Camino or The Way.

I traveled with Deacon Dave and three others to Uganda in 2008 to support a mission in Buseesa. Dave formerly was an LAPD captain (who has run a difficult leg in the annual Baker to Vegas run) and Cathy worked as his adjutant at Central Traffic in 1997.

Post-Mass Reception

After the Mass we walked across the parking lot to the Parish Hall for food catered by Sally Kutcher's Helping Hands Ministry. We watched a touching video presentation (which may be viewed on the Reception page, along with other content seen at the reception) that Cathy had prepared to honor her mother.

Sally and I have been friends for years. Having lost her husband Herb in 2009, she understands the grief families experience when they lose a loved one. The people in her ministry work only for the joy that comes from assisting others. When she received the Senior of the Year award in 2008, Sally said, "I get paid in sprituality."

Burial at Conejo Mountain Cemetery

Around 2:30 pm, our family accompanied by close friends set out for Conejo Mountain Cemetery, about 15 minutes away. I had Mary's ashes in my possession. There Deacon Dave joined us. He conducted a moving graveside service, after which we watched the cemetery staff place the cylinder containing the ashes into the base of the stone on which Mary's and my name will be engraved. See the Burial page for photos and the Gravestone page for an image of the engraved gravestone. After the service, members of the family placed their boutonnieres around the stone. As the flowers were dropped, Mary's dad, to be 97 on March 15, became very emotional and had to be steadied as his irregular gait suggested he might fall. We exited the cemetery around 3:15 pm.

Open House until 9 pm

We had planned an Open House from 5 to 9 pm, but people who attended the burial arrived early, and some people had come directly from the reception, so the caterers initially were a bit confused. The event was catered by the people who did Dave and Jen's wedding in Malibu two years ago.  Temperatures were in the high 50s, but heat lamps generated warmth on this cool evening. There seemed an abundance, but not an excess, of tables and chairs. People ate, drank, laughed, and told "Mary" stories. Name tags were not universal, but many did wear them. I saw an occasional face from the distant past, such as Tom Hartt's, and I was grateful at the high turnout. Many visitors remained past 9 pm, which told me that the party was a success, and I finally retired minutes after midnight.

How People May Honor Mary

How People Have Honored Mary