Mary Mildred Mager Garwell, age 92, entered eternal rest Tuesday, September 17, 2013. She is now with her beloved husband, George, who entered eternal life in 1974. Mary was surrounded by her family at her home, where she lived with, and received loving care by Sandy Riley of Adult Care by Sandy. Born in Keysterville, Pennsylvania January 29, 1921, Mary was one of eight children born to Sofia and Paul Mager who immigrated from Czechoslovakia.
At age eight, Mary, along with her seven siblings and parents, moved to Lorain, where her coal miner father started Subway Coal Company and supplied area families and businesses in Lorain County with coal. Mary began her entrepreneurial spirit at an early age, while answering the office telephone for coal orders which her father and four brothers filled.
Mary attended Lorain City Schools and graduated at the top of her class from Lorain High School, Class of 1939A. She graduated from Lorain Business College, which was preparation for own business which she would operate with her future husband. Mary held local jobs at American Thew Shovel and T.N. Molis, which fueled her passion for fashion and design. She truly was a modern woman!!
After being plagued for several years with sinus headaches, it was recommended she move to a dry climate. Adventurous, at the age of 24, Mary gave her two week notice at Jack and Heintz, where she worked as a blue print drafting assistant, and packed her bags for Arizona, where she remained for two years, having the time of her life. During the war, Mary worked as a customer service liaison for a major aircraft carrier and the U.S. government. Interested in flying, Mary was a co-pilot for her employer and often flew domestically to deliver documents, all while having her hands on the controls.
Mary was crowned Tucson’s Rodeo Queen in 1946, even though she had never been on a horse before in her life. Mary’s determination, tenacity and beauty made her a natural.
In 1948, Mary returned to Lorain, where she met her future husband, George Garwell, while working at Subway Coal. Smitten by her beauty and wit, during their first meeting George told Mary that she was the girl he was going to marry. They married after a 10 month courtship on Thanksgiving Day in 1949, to a packed audience at Holy Trinity.
Shortly after their wedding, Mary and George bought property on Lake Road and opened a Bait and Tackle Shack (a childhood dream of her husband’s) which eventually grew into one of the largest bait and tackle stores along the Great Lakes. Short of marking their 25th wedding anniversary, George’s untimely death left Mary a widow at age 53. Mary kept the family business open with the help of her daughters, Mary and Sophie, until 2002, when they closed the doors to the public and the younger Mary started her own online e-commerce business.
Mary had a true spirit of kindness and compassion and would help anyone in need. Mary and George were known in their neighborhoods, both Brownell and West Erie, for their generosity, as they gave care packages to needy families anonymously.
In her later years, Mary joined various travel clubs, where she visited may wonderful places and met many wonderful people along the way. She was popular in her TOPS club and would often provide the jokes at the weekly meetings; yet she found the greatest joy in the time spent wit her immediate family. She enjoyed cooking and baking for family gatherings. Her specialties were ethnic dishes like pierogi and kolache. As a woman of great faith, she was a member of Nativity B.V.M. Parish, Nativity B.V.M Rosary Society, and Avon St. Mary’s Rosary Society. As Mary’s dementia worsened, she never seemed to lose her sense of humor. In her humor, Mary claims, she too, was a member of The Sine Aid Society, along with actress Michael Learned, who was the spokeswoman.
Her life will be celebrated at Nativity B.V.M. Church in Lorain, Saturday, September 21, 2013, with in-church visitation from 9 A.M., until time of her funeral Mass of Christian Burial at 10 A.M. Reverend Robert J. Glepko, Pastor, will be the Celebrant. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Lorain.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George Garwell; parents, Paul and Sofia (nee Mudri) Mager; seven siblings; and one nephew.
She is survived by her loving and devoted daughters, Sophie Walters of Amherst and Mary Ziegman of Avon, caring sons-in-law, Dennis Walters and Ron Ziegman; son, George (Donna) of Lorain; grandchildren, Brent (Maggie), Brandon, Ashley (Nick McClellan), Matthew, Jacqueline; and great granddaughter, Alana; along with several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Grace Hospice, 16600 W. Sprague Rd. #90, Middleburgh Heights, OH 44130, Blessing House, 5440 Grove Avenue, Lorain, OH 44055, or Catholic Charities, 203 8th St., Lorain, OH 44052, to aide those in need.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel in Lorain.