Friday, July 8, 2022


My daughter-in-law Nicole, her mother Mary an my son Zach
during Mary's first chemo treatments in June 2016

It is with deepest sadness that I share the passing of my dear friend Mary,
mother-in-law to my son Zach.
She has been in the battle of her life for the past 6 years
with a nasty form of un-curable stomach cancer,
the doctor giving her hope that at the most 
she might last 10 more years with this form of cancer.
In each of the past 6 years,
 chemo was tried,
and she'd go into a few months of remission.
She'd lose all her hair,
 and then her cancer would rear it's ugly head 
and come back with less and less time in between treatments.
If I remember correctly,
her longest remission after her first treatment was 13 months.
But this past year was the absolute worst.
Finding none of the regular chemo drugs working anymore 
to get her a few months of relief,
they tried a new clinical trial drug which pretty much decimated her body,
and took her to skin and bones.
She couldn't keep any food down and her stomach had to be pumped every 2-3 weeks with fluid build-up.
But if you didn't know her,
you'd never suspect there was a thing wrong with her,
other then her rapid weight lose.
She was determined to beating this 
and living at least the possible 10 years after her terminal diagnosis.

Mary Rock Climbing into a Cave in Las Vergennes Canyon in May 2017
after 1st Chemo treatment

Mary was a 6 foot tall,
 incredibly strong woman.
An athlete;
 jogger, hiker, swimmer, and renown yoga instructor.
A crafter of needlepoint and quilts with an incredible eye for design,
along with her impeccable craftsmanship.
A leader and generous giver to her Quilt Community and Church.
A fantastic cook,
 she passed down her recipes and skills in the kitchen
 to both of her children as well as my son.
An expert on salt water aquariums,
who maintained a large one until a couple of months ago,
and a cat lover and rescue mama to 3 sweet kitties.

This last year, 
on the clinical trial drug,
Mary shrank down to,
 at the most,
  80 pounds on her ravaged body.
she stayed so very strong for one more Thanksgiving, 
Xmas and Easter,
 helping her daughter Nicole,
 along with Zach, 
prepare and cook all the food for each occasion.
She loved to entertain,
loved being surrounded by family and friends,
and loved sharing hysterical stories about her growing up years!
But she finally allowed her daughter to cook for her this last Mother's Day.
As ill as she was,
she even traveled by air twice this past year with her husband Nick 
to visit their son, his wife & their first grandchild in Texas.
And Mary was still hand piecing her last quilt pattern every single night 
until the day she died,
trying to beat the clock to finish it.

Mary in December 2020 after 4 years of Chemo Treatments

A lover of nature,
she was a gardener extraordinaire.
She created the most beautiful garden oasis in both front and back yards,
in the very scorching hot climate of the San Fernando Valley.
A couple of days before she left us,
 she was still driving herself to the garden store
to buy plants for her yard.
But this past weekend put her in the hospital for a night of severe vomiting,
and her family knew she was getting close.
She didn't want to stay there so Nick brought her home,
bringing in a hospice nurse,
and her entire family flew in to say good-bye.

A child of the 50's, a teenager in the 60's and a free spirit in the 1970's,
 Mary was the eldest of 7 siblings,
a child of Dutch immigrants,
and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
She left home at 17 and put herself thru hair college,
while working several jobs to pay her bills.
Did I mention what a strong willed, determined woman she was??

After marrying Nick in 1979,
Mary became a Navy wife.
They raised 2 children,
Jordan and Nicole,
  living in several different parts of the country,
all Naval bases in beautiful port cities.
I believe Annapolis was her favorite in Maryland.
Nick would be gone for months commanding a Nuclear Submarine
and Mary became a very strong independent parent.

(Mary 4 years into her Cancer on a river boat adventure with Nick thru her native homeland of Holland)

This past weekend, as weak as she was,
she was still trying to entertain her siblings with food 
as they all flew in to say good-bye.
 I think it really sapped her remaining strength.
Monday late morning my son texted me and reported that she was failing quickly.
I was supposed to do the a.m. watch Monday nite
so my bags were already packed and I drove up to the Valley.
I got there around 3 p.m. and by 5:20 she was gone.
It was so heartbreaking to say good-bye
 but she was surrounded by love.
Held closely in her husband's arms of 43 years,
he whispered his love and good-byes.
Her daughter on her other side resting her head on Mary's shoulder
and holding her hand,
my son kneeling in front of her with his hand resting on her knee,
 and her son on the cell perched on his dad's leg,
telling her what a wonderful mother she was 
and how much he loved her.
She looked so very beautiful at the end as peace came to her.
We will all miss her dearly.

(Mary the first year I met her in 2012)

Until we meet again dear Mary.

An aside.
This was written on May 24th 
but I didn't have all the pix I wanted to include until recently.
Mary left us on May 16, 2022,
and is buried on the most beautiful hill under a shade tree.
 A lovely cemetery in the Santa Suzanna pass surrounded by large boulders 
where the Hollywood Westerns were filmed.
There is a 4-5 mile trail thru those rocks 
that we are planning to hike thru in memory of Mary.
Her spirit will be with us.


  1. what a beautiful woman she was to have inspired such beautiful words ... heart-felt condolences to you and all who loved her ...

    1. Thank you Liz. It's been over a month now but I feel I'm still going thru the grieving process. This is my first experience being with and watching a dear one pass. It impacted my life in such a profound way. Each day now I'm so very thankful for all I have and the life I was born into.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes she did Grace, such a wonderful life!

  3. What a beautiful spirit. So sorry for your family's loss.

    1. Thank you Hazel. Missing her so much already. Her daughter and I are going to try to finish the last quit top she was working on. A way more difficult pattern then I've ever attempted. Hope your Covid symptoms are all better.