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Mary Rita Theresa Weiss

Born: June 1, 1931
Died: April 20, 2010; in Chicago

Mary Rita Theresa Weiss, age 78, passed away peacefully on April 20, 2010, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 38 years Carroll Weiss and her two older brothers. She is survived by two sisters, one brother, her 5 sons and 3 daughters, 25 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren.

Second only to her family, Mary's passion was orchids. From a gift of 3 plants given to her in 1973, her collection grew to more than 3,000. She was an active member of the Batavia Orchid Society for more than 30 years, serving as show chairman for more than 20 of those years. She won awards and ribbons numbering in the thousands, with some of her plants earning the highest possible Award of Merit from the American Orchid Society.

She eventually became an internationally accredited orchid judge, serving at competitions in such exotic places as Hong Kong, New Zealand, Hawaii, Indonesia and Rio De Janeiro. In 1999 she was named Orchidist of the Year by the Midwest Orchid Conference. Even in the dead of winter, a walk through her greenhouse was like being in a forest of flowers.

To her friends and family she was known as a fun loving person with boundless energy. Her incredible sense of humor was evident even into her final hours.

A memorial gathering will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 25, at the Riverside Reception Center, 35 N. River Lane, Geneva.

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