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Mary D. Marsh

Obituary for Mary D. Marsh

September 2, 1934 - October 16, 2021
Michigan | Age 87


Mary D. Marsh, age 87, passed away peacefully on October 16 surrounded by her loving children Elizabeth and James. She is preceded in her death by her beloved husband, William Marsh, her brother John Stewart, her sister Gabrielle Arandhara, and her niece Deborah Canner.

Mary was born in 1934 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, in the northeast coast of England. She grew up in north London. Her earliest memories were of her dad marching off to war and living through the London Blitz and German rocket attacks throughout the war. She has fond memories of starting her lifelong passion for reading during this time when she would visit the public library weekly while carrying her gas mask. After the war, she excelled in her academic studies and athletic endeavors. Being raised a devout Catholic, she pursued a religious vocation with training in Belgium. She taught disadvantaged youths in London's West End and later taught grammar school in Surrey while delving deeper into courses on scripture, theology, and liturgy. She finished her diploma in Catechetics in 1967. Soon after she met an American who would forever change her life.

She married William Marsh in 1969 and so began a new chapter in her life in the foreign land of the United States. They settled in McHenry, IL, where Mary became the first Lay Director of Religious Education for the Rockford Diocese. Working from scratch, she created and evolved this new role within the Church with others soon following her lead. She later became Pastoral Associate responsible for Education and Liturgy. She served St. Patrick's Parish in McHenry in these roles for over 25 years, earning numerous awards and recognition for her services, including the Bishop J. O'Neil award for outstanding service. She started a catechetical library that was named and dedicated to her upon her retirement. Mary earnestly believed in the service to those in need, setting the example for so many to follow.

Mary was a devoted mother to Elizabeth and James, instilling in them her love of different cultures and history. She enjoyed playing Scrabble, puzzles, and, true to her English upbringing, was an avid gardener. She loved to travel and throughout her life was able to visit the Holy Land, Western Europe, and upon retirement treated herself to an adventure in Australia & New Zealand. Her love of history led her to be an active member in the Trail of History during her retirement. In her later years, she enjoyed living in the mountains of North Carolina by her daughter, where she founded a women's spirituality group at St. Eugene's in Asheville, as well as living in downtown Chicago by her son, allowing her to enjoy her favorite role being that of a grandmother to her five grandchildren.

She is survived by her beloved sister Ann Chapman, her daughter Elizabeth and her husband Nicholas Woods and their daughter Ella, her son James and his wife Eileen and their children Roman, Mara, Maddie, and Carys, and nephews Paul and Andrew, nieces Alison, Monica, Rosita, Victoria, Antoinette, Nicola, and Anne Louise, and all of their children, and of course countless friends over the years who meant so very much to Mary.

Visitation will take place on Thursday, October 21, 2021 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at Colonial Funeral Home in McHenry, IL. Visitation will continue at the funeral home on Friday, October 22, 2021 from 9:30am to 10:30am. Funeral Mass will be on Friday, October 22, 2021 at 11:00am at St. Patrick Catholic Church in McHenry, IL followed by burial at St. Patrick Churchyard Cemetery.

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Colonial Funeral Home & Crematory

591 Ridgeview Drive
McHenry, IL 60050
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