RODERICK, Ann Mary
On Thursday, (May 16 2013), Ann Mary Roderick of Simsbury was lead by the angels to her heavenly home and into the embrace of Christ, on Whom her eyes rested her entire life. Ann was a parishioner of St. Bernard Church in Tariffville, as well as a daily communicant at St. Mary Church in Simsbury, an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist and Sacristan for many years at St. Bernard Church, and a Third Order Dominican Religious, professing her vows in 1962. For her tireless work for St. Bernard's, she was the first parishioner to receive the St. Joseph Medal of appreciation in 2002, from Archbishop Daniel Cronin. On the occasion of her 100th birthday, she received an illuminated inscription with blessings from Holy Father Pope John Paul II, joyfully delivered and read to her by the late Reverend Thomas Flower. In 1973, Governor Ella Grasso presented her with the Outstanding Citizen Award for her service to humanity, and at 102 years of age, the Tariffville Village Association recognized her with its Citizen of the Year Award. Ann was born July 26, 1903 in New York City to Jacob Radzevicius and Anna (Vaitekunas), who emigrated from Lithuania in the 1890's. Ann worked on the family farm, in tobacco, and at Ensign-Bickford in Simsbury in between periods of her schooling, and at age 29, graduated from St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing. She worked for St. Francis Hospital for a few years as well as for the State of Connecticut. In the late 1930's, she decided to seek a different career in nursing and left home to fulfill this dream, attending one of the most notable early programs, St. John's Hospital in Springfield, IL. Ann worked as a nurse anesthetist for over 30 years, most of these years at St. Francis Hospital, and retired at the age of 70. Still feeling the drive to work and to give to others, she joined the Peace Corps in 1973 and was assigned to a hospital head nurse position in Liberia, Africa. In 1975, she returned home, and did volunteer work. Perhaps Ann's most influential role was as "Auntie-Mom." When Ann was 41, her brother Charles, recently widowed with two young children, asked her if she would be willing to raise his children in Tariffville, where he knew they would get a good Catholic foundation and be instilled with a solid value system. Ann agreed without hesitation. She became both mother and father to these children, at ages 3 and 10. They have always recognized the selflessness Ann had in taking them in and raising them as her own - nephew Paul Charles Roderick (wife Barbara) of Tariffville, and niece Marie Roderick Bergeron of Otis, MA. They have many fond memories of Auntie and deep gratitude to her for the love and care she showed them as they were growing up to become two remarkable individuals in their own right. Ann also leaves behind several great nephews and nieces scattered around the country - Marie's children Laurie, Chip and Lynn, and Paul's children Paul, Lisa and Mark. It is Paul's son Mark who has been closest to Ann throughout his life and for whom Ann had very deep affection, along with his wife Tracey and their children Lauren (Ann's goddaughter) and Sarah ("my girls" as she called them). Ann was able to remain living in her own home during her final four years, largely due to the loving care and companionship of her "Teri" and the VNA nurses. There are numerous others who so generously were there to assist Ann with transportation, with prayers, and with visits - among them, Laurie White, Zim Anthony, John Guiel, and several parishioners and priests of both St. Bernard's and St. Mary's.
Friends may call at the Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury on Monday, May 20 from 5-7 p.m. Funeral will be Tuesday, May 21, 9:15 a.m. from the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial, 10 a.m. at St. Bernard's Church in Tariffville. Burial will follow in St. Bernard's Cemetery, Tariffville. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. Bernard's Church Improvement Fund, 7 Maple Street, Tariffville, CT 06081 or to Holy Family Retreat Center, 303 Tunxis Road, West Hartford, CT 06107. Please visit Ann's "Book of Memories" at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online condolences.