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GURNEE - Mary Ann Vasseur, nee Connolly, formerly of Fox Lake, Illinois, passed away Sunday, February 9, 2020. She was 88. Mary was born May 29, 1931, in Boston, to Mary and Barthley Connolly, both formerly of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, Ireland. She was the eldest of four children, but sadly lost both of her parents when she was just 6 years old. After spending her remaining childhood in the foster system in Worcester, MA, she moved to Illinois in 1950 with a local family for whom she had been a nanny. Having spent her childhood alone as an orphan, Mary wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by family as an adult. In the fall of 1952, she met her future husband, a Marine named Louis, while attending a night-school accounting course in Waukegan, Illinois. They were married on August 8, 1953, and quickly began the family that became her first true joy and the center of her life. Between July 1954 and January 1969, Mary and Louis had 10 children. Times weren't always easy with so many mouths to feed and laundry to do, but a loud, crowded, chaotic houseful was exactly what Mary wanted. For the first three decades of her marriage, Mary's life was centered around childcare, school sporting events and the Catholic Church. In the early '80s, she took her first out-of-home job at Wieboldt's department store, but didn't earn her driver's license until 1985. Mary continued to work various retail jobs well in to her 60s, but her lifelong career, passion and true calling would always be her role as matriarch of her immediate and extended family. In addition to being mother of 10 and grandmother of 20, Mary remained close to her nieces and nephews, and their children, back in Massachusetts. In the early '80s she began searching for her extended Irish family both in the States and in Ireland. Once she made connections with her relations, she didn't let go, consistently reaching out to them via phone, post and as much as possible, making trips to the East and West Coasts, as well as Ireland. Mary is survived by 9 children, Louis (Barb), John (Sandy), Kathleen Quinn (Allan), Patricia Toyra (David), James (Linda), Therese "Tate", Mary Margaret Maule (Jack), Elizabeth "Bit" and Bridget Johnson (Tim); and 17 grandchildren. She was preceded in death by siblings, Margaret Turner, Helen Rainville and Joseph Connolly; husband, Louis; daughter, Linda; and grandchildren, Patrick, Tyler and James. Nothing brought Mary more joy than a loud and crowded family gathering, filled with food, laughter, and the retelling of family tales for the 100th time. We will surround Mary with love and laughter one last time on Saturday, February 15, at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 6401 Gages Lake Road, Gurnee, IL 60031. Visitation begins at 12:00 pm; mass begins at 1:00 pm. A memorial reception will be held 3:00 - 6:00 pm at the Independence Grove Visitor's Center, 16400 W. Buckley Road, Libertyville, IL 60048, following interment at Ascension Catholic Cemetery, Libertyville. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to , https://www.stjude.org/, or Father Flanagan's Boy's Home, boystown.org. For information, please call Gurnee Salata Funeral Home, 847-244-1155.
Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Feb. 12, 2020
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