Mary Louise Kearney passed away peacefully in Long Term Care, in Rainy River, Ont. on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, with family by her side.
On Jan. 19, 1922 (over 96 years ago) Mary was born in Rainy River to Ida (Johnson) and Thomas Nolan. She grew up on the Nolan family farm in Sleeman, with four siblings: Vincent, Thomas, Catherine (m: Clarence Raison) and James. There, she attended a one-room school house before furthering her education in Fort Frances.
On Sept. 9, 1942, her marriage to Norman Edward Kearney, of Sleeman, took place on the Nolan homestead; witnessed by Vincent Nolan and Gladys Rattigan.
Eventually, Mom and Dad started a small family farm in Sleeman of their own. Four of their children enjoyed that lifestyle: Karen, Linda, Betty and Larry.
In Mom's “spare” time, she sometimes worked in Soderburgs Store.
She was always so proud of her Sleeman roots and especially enjoyed the many close friendships she had, that lasted a lifetime, with people from there.
She was also very proud of her Irish heritage!
About 1960, to be closer to Dad's employment (DHO) and for conveniences, the family of six moved into Rainy River.
Mom sometimes worked at Ozzie's Café, then became steadily employed by the Foodway.
Two more children were born in Rainy River: Tammy and Rick.
Soon after, Mom began her very lengthy career with Canada Post. She served her final nine years as the head Post Mistress in Rainy River, prior to retiring on April 2, 1993.
A highly attended Retirement Party was held in the RR Legion, to honour her, for her many years of service.
Mom was a knowledgeable historian in the Rainy River District, and an interesting conversationalist. She was gifted with a fabulous mind and an incredibly meticulous memory.
Throughout her 96 years, she lived a modest, humble and caring lifestyle; one that was filled with kindness, honesty and integrity.
She was always a devout Catholic; her faith was very strong. She was straight forward, very quick witted, and she could so easily create smiles and laughter within a room.
Being adventurous, she loved to travel. And travel she did!
Initially, with Dad, they drove from coast-to-coast across Canada.
Together, they visited many areas throughout the mid-USA. They loved to sight-see along the less-travelled country roads. With tents, gear, food and kids, they went camping.
With a small outboard, a car-topper-boat, fishing rods and bait, they loved to go fishing/boating on the Rainy River or Lake of the Woods. Mom and Dad shared hard work, some difficult times, a fun-filled relationship, and a very deep love that lasted a lifetime.
Sadly, Mom became a widow on June 21, 1983. She continued to work for another 10 years.
With family and friends, she eventually made three major trips; all beyond Canada. In 1985, with Linda, Dennis and his parents, Mom enjoyed a three-week road trip that included visiting Kearney (Nebraska), Reno, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alcatraz, Tijuana, and Phoenix.
Years later, Mom boarded a cruise ship in Mexico, sailed thru the Panama Canal, and joined tours in Venezuela, Jamaica and Miami. She enjoyed seeing both Disneyland and Disneyworld.
In 1994, on Sept 29, Mom landed in London, England, with Betty and Karen. Following a guided bus tour across England and Wales, and a gentle ferry ride across the Irish Sea, Mom arrived in Ireland! That 16-day adventure created many wonderful and lasting memories for her.
Mom loved to curl and she enjoyed being a “skip” for many years. In later years, when eyesight failed her, she enjoyed listening to many televised bonspiels.
Most of all, she loved to hear about the exciting moments whenever a curler from Rainy River, or from Northwestern Ontario, was competing in any major bonspiel, anywhere in Canada, or the world. Win, or lose; she was always their fan!
She was proud of being a long-term Legion member. For decades, Mom enjoyed attending their social events and contributing towards their special fundraisers.
Cribbage was her specialty, and she represented the RR Legion in some out-of-town cribbage tournaments.
Mom was also a member of the RR Seniors group. When poor vision prevented her from participating in community events, she resorted to passing many home-bound hours by listening to “talking books.”
She was thankful for this new technology. Whenever a friend or a family member would phone, or stop by her home to visit and stay for coffee/tea, and/or conversation, it was the highlight of her day.
Because of Rick's daily assistance, her best friends, some home-care help, and with Harley's companionship and “guard dog” service, Mom so often expressed how very lucky she was, to have been able to continue to live in her own home so long; until her 94th year.
When a fall resulted in her having to be hospitalized, followed by a need for daily medical care, Mom's “home” became a lovely room in RR Long Term Care.
There, she quickly established some wonderful new friendships with the residents, the staff and the medical team. Enjoyable conversations were then held daily with many!
Mom will be missed immensely by her son, Rick Kearney, of Rainy River, and by her three daughters and their spouses: Karen (Jim Andrews-Sioux Narrows); Betty (Randy Godin-Fort Frances); and Tammy (Bob Jeffery- Sudbury).
One son-in-law, Dennis Lambert, of Fort Frances; 11 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; two great-great granddaughters; two nieces; seven nephews; extended family members; and many good friends of all ages will mourn her loss.
She was predeceased by her husband, Norman Kearney (June 21/83); her son, Larry Kearney (July 21/89); her daughter, Linda Lambert (July 15/91) and by her great-granddaughter, Alyssa Godin (July 1/94).
A funeral mass was held on Aug. 21, 2018 in Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church, in Rainy River, Ont. with Father Thomas Mullamangalam officiating, and with Dean, Dennis Olinyk, assisting.
The Canadian Legion participated in the service, represented by Walter Wagner and Brent Helgeson. Music was provided by Renée Martin Brown.
A luncheon followed, in the Legion, organized and served by members of the CWL.
Pallbearers were six of Mary Kearney's grandsons: Ryan Andrews, Jason Andrews, Michael Godin, Larry Godin, Brian Godin and Darren Jeffery. Honorary pallbearers were three of her granddaughters, Tina Svehla, Tara DeAmicis and Tracey DeAmicis. Interment took place immediately after the funeral service, in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Rainy River, Ont.
Green Funeral Home, in Fort Frances, provided guidance, support and funeral arrangements
If desired, in memory of Mary Kearney, contributions could be made to: Diabetes Canada, 101-730 Syndicate Avenue South, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada P7E1E9, or to any charitable organization of your choice.
Photos and a full obituary can be seen, and condolences can be offered, online at: www.greenfuneral-homefortfrances.com