Mary Evangelista Humenik (1916 - 2017)

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Mary Evangelista Humenik, celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Heaven on March 17, 2017, as she passed into eternity at the age of 100. Mary, a terrific sports fan, passed peacefully in her sleep with her television tuned to the NCAA basketball tournament. Mary celebrated her 100th birthday in October 2016 in Atlanta, Ga., with scores of nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, together with many other friends and family members. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 14, 1916, to Suzan and Andrew Humenik, Mary was one of nine siblings, all of whom predeceased her. She attended Homestead High School and entered the convent of the Congregation of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity (now the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth), and served in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Montgomery, Alabama in a variety of ministries including teaching and health care. Mary obtained her RN degree from the St. Francis School of Nursing in Pittsburgh in 1938, before attending St. Louis University graduating in 1943, and later obtained her Masters in Nursing at the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the late 1960s. She was proud of her Slovakian heritage, and would often recite grace in Slovak before the family's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. She attributed her longevity to the fact she never married, had children, smoked, or drank. Mary served as an administrator at St. Jude's Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama, which then primarily treated the region's minority population. Mary drove hospital employees, patients, and others without transportation during the Montgomery bus boycott (1955-56), and helped open the hospital and its grounds to civil rights marchers who camped there during the many marches that occurred over the ensuing years. She later taught nursing at Jacksonville State University. Mary's devotion to God and commitment to serving others was unwavering and inspiring to all. Upon her retirement, Mary settled upon Alexander City, Alabama to spend her remaining years during which time she watched her many nieces and nephews, and their children spend summers at the family lake house learning to ski on Lake Martin, where she lived by herself in the company of her loyal dogs (Smokey and Leah) until the final year of her life when she moved to Atlanta to be closer to family. Mary expressed deep gratitude to the loving staff of Sandy Springs Place in North Atlanta who helped care for her in her final months. Mary had a soft-spoken, gentle manner with a quiet wit. Her love of children was evident in her motherly care of the many young family members who regularly visited. As a devout Catholic, it is no surprise Mary was a rabid Notre Dame football fan and last attended the Irish's 14-10 defeat of Georgia Tech in 2006, in Atlanta at the age of 89. Inexplicably, she also pulled for a school in Tuscaloosa much to the dismay of her many intelligent relatives who attended an actual degree granting institution near Opelika. Mary was an active member of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Alexander City. She is survived by her many nieces and nephews and a host of great-nephews, great-nieces, and friends, all of whose lives have been enriched by this remarkable woman. A celebration of Mary's life will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church on April 8, 2017, at noon to be followed by interment in the columbarium on the Church grounds. Mary and her family ask that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to St. John the Apostle Catholic Church 454 North Central Ave., Alexander City, AL 35010.
Published in The Anniston Star on Apr. 1, 2017