Mary Veronica Gaspar (nee Sceniak) of Yorkville, IL passed away peacefully on 30 January 2020 with her daughter by her side. Mary was 93 years young, and just shy of celebrating her 94th birthday. She resided with her daughter and son-in-law for the past 8 years. She is survived by her daughter, Susan Wilson (Robert Banwart), her daughter-in-law Melanie, and three grandchildren, Joseph Alexander (Alex), Samantha, and Matthew. She is preceded in death by her infant daughter, Elizabeth, husband Joseph, her son Joseph John, as well as her parents, two brothers and two sisters.
Mary knew without a doubt, early in her life, that she wanted to become a nurse and to help others after being a companion to the little next door neighbor girl, who was terminally ill.
During WWII, after graduating from high school, she signed up for the Army Cadet Nurse Program. She completed her nurses training at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, IL while attending The College of St. Francis. Wanting to accelerate her studies, she transferred to DePaul University and graduated with her BSN. During the Christmas seasons, Mary worked the glove counter at the Marshall Fields on State St in Chicago in the evening after classes. She also surprised her family, when she visited Cuba on a whim (prior to travel restrictions) with her college girlfriend, while on a road trip to the Florida Keys.
As a nurse, she worked at Children’s Memorial in Chicago, did private duty nursing, and enjoyed a stint working as a polio nurse in Texas, as well as in Iowa City, but longed to return to graduate school to get her MS in Nursing. She moved to Washington, DC to attend the Catholic University of America and graduated with her MS in Nursing, met and married her husband, Joseph, and started her own family. Mary loved classical music, opera, reading, her garden, and vanilla ice cream. Her son, Joe, loved to call her “the wee little ma”, which she adored. She was very happy living in Washington, DC for 54 years, and subsequently moved in with her daughter and son-in-law in Illinois, not far from where she originally grew up and began her career.
Mary loved working as a nurse. It defined who she was and this is how she will always be remembered in our hearts and minds. She greatly enjoyed working with premature infants and children at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, and also worked as a Director of Nursing at two Silver Spring nursing homes. Often times, she was called upon by her neighbors to bring her nursing skills to assist, comfort and heal, and she truly loved helping everyone. She was blessed with a deep faith and she would often say “Put all your faith in God”.
Interment on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 11am, at Mount Olivet Cemetery (Washington DC) next to her husband and infant daughter, Elizabeth.
People that knew Mary knew how much she loved birds, especially cardinals. In light of that, donations in her name can be made to The National Audubon Society (details below).
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National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street, New York NY 10014