Mary Ann Elias
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Mary Ann Elias

Heaven gained the most beautiful angel on July 28, 2020 when Mary Ann Karam Elias went to be with her Lord. Mary Ann enjoyed 98 1/2 wonderful years surrounded by those who loved her dearly. She was born in Miami, Arizona to James Karam and Angeline Rameh Karam and was one of ten children. She worked at her father's retail store in Ray-Sonora, Arizona until she moved to Phoenix where she was a member of the first graduating class of North High School. Following graduation, Mary Ann took her merchant experience to Elias Wholesale Company before starting a successful career in retail management at The Jennifer Store in Thomas Mall. She later worked as a bookkeeper at McCreary and Pugh. In the 1980s and 1990s, Mary Ann appeared in TV ads for law firms across the country.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Leo, her parents and her siblings Willie Karam, John Karam, George Karam, Evelyn Barrett and Leila Erickson. Mary Ann is survived by four children, Carol Ann Klagge (Jay), Leo Elias, Jr. (Shelly), Deborah Elias O'Steen (Van) and Sandra McIndoo (Steve) as well as four siblings, Yvonne Valour, Francis Karam, James Karam, Jr. and Margaret Ganem. Her legacy lives on through 15 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews who she loved dearly.

Mary Ann was the "Matriarch" of the Elias family and enjoyed hosting gatherings and preparing huge spreads of Lebanese food. While she was a wonderful cook, Mary Ann often said she dreamed of one day owning a home without a kitchen. Mary Ann was a woman of impeccable taste and enjoyed shopping for clothes almost as much as she enjoyed returning most of her purchases the following day.

Mary Ann regularly attended services at St. Joseph Catholic Church, was a charter member of the Phoenix Emblem Club and belonged to the Lebanon-Syrian American Club (now the Cedar Club). She enjoyed hiking and working out, even into her early 90s. Mary Ann never missed a Phoenix Suns or Arizona Diamondbacks game. Her grandchildren knew that invites to dinner must be coordinated around the schedules for her two favorite sports teams. Mary Ann lived with her daughter, Sandi, and son-in-law, Steve, and their children for more than 15 years. Her family is eternally grateful for the love and care they provided her.

Mary Ann's family feels the tremendous loss of a woman with an infectious smile who always was the life of the party and kept us laughing.

Due to current restrictions, a memorial service is not possible at this time. Honor Mary Ann by toasting in her memory, playing cards and hugging a loved one. Condolences may be expressed at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Jul. 30 to Aug. 2, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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August 1, 2020
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