Friday, November 19, 2021
11:00 AM EST
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
224 Carrier Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Friends may visit with Mary's family at church beginning at 10:15 AM.
Life Story / Obituary
With a warm smile and a welcoming heart, Mary O'Hearn lived a life rich in family and faith. Having grown up in a time of struggle, Mary possessed deep wisdom about what was most important in life: faith, hope, and love. With a calm voice, she lovingly shared her wisdom, often restoring perspective and resolve for those in need. Mary embodied the principles of her faith. She led with her heart, generously gave of herself in service of others, and trusted God's will. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Mary proved a powerful role model whose legacy will long live in the lives of those she so dearly loved.
Charles and Joan (George) Dillenbeck welcomed their daughter, Mary Therese, into their family on January 3, 1929. The youngest of the four Dillenbeck children, Mary grew up on Lafayette Street NE in Grand Rapids near St. Alphonsus Church. The church became an important influence in Mary's life, forming the firm foundation and strong roots of her lifelong faith. Her three older brothers entered the priesthood seminary after 8th grade. As they were gone nine months of the year, it was almost like Mary was an only child. Despite their being away much of the time, Mary always felt close to them. She also enjoyed spending time with her cousins who lived nearby, playing cards, sewing, and doing embroidery.
Mary attended elementary school at St. Alphonsus and Mt. Mercy for high school. After school, she did secretarial work at a law firm, where she took shorthand notes and even met future President Ford, who also worked there. When Mary was in 7th grade, her brother Leo died tragically, falling through ice while attempting to save a classmate. The loss was profound, and it was only through her faith that such a tragedy was endured. Sadly, she would lose another brother, Fred, to leukemia about 15 years later.
Mary met the love of her life, John O'Hearn, at a West Side bar. Even though he wasn't the only one who had eyes for her, she chose him with all of her heart. John came from a large family, and though she had to adapt from her rather quiet childhood, she embraced being part of such big love. The happy couple married on August 9, 1952, and began their lives together, living with John's mother for a short time. From there, they moved into a house on 7th Street. In time, they built their home on Maridell Ave NW, where Mary would reside for the rest of her life.
The couple started their family right away, joyfully welcoming six children to their family. Mary dedicated herself to her family and was a wonderful mother. She relished in her family life. Her children grew up knowing she was "the best" mom. With a positive, loving perspective, she never shared a mean word and was someone you wanted to be around. Mary and John were longtime members of St. James Catholic Church. And though she wanted her kids to have a relationship with God, she never imposed her own beliefs on them; rather, she encouraged their individual paths and enjoyed learning from their faith journeys.
When her kids were young, the family enjoyed summer getaways to a rented cottage, often at Sand Lake or Hess Lake. The destination didn't matter, nor what they did. What was most important for Mary was that they were together. She cherished watching her children grow and delighted in seeing what they accomplished in their own ways. The difficulties in her own childhood kept her life in perspective, and by example, she showed her children what was important. Spunky and full of life, Mary was a true neighborhood mom, and her door was always open. She was a safe harbor in life's storms, always radiating calm and faith. She wasn't afraid to speak the truth, and her children always felt better for her listening and wise insights.
Without a doubt, Mary's greatest joy came from spending time with her children and grandchildren. One of Mary's talents was playing the piano. She was a wonderful pianist, and the family loved their tradition of gathering around her at the piano, joyfully singing on Christmas Eve. Her home was a haven and a celebration of family, her greatest treasure. She made sure each member of the family had their own Christmas stocking, adding additional stockings above her fireplace each year to accommodate the year’s newest family members. Most recently, the fireplace held 70 stockings. That welcoming atmosphere carried over as several of the grandchildren spent time living with her, enjoying her good company, as well as her good cooking.
Another gift Mary gave her family was her marriage to John. The couple enjoyed 47 years of companionship and the beautiful family they created. They had many friends and enjoyed entertaining in their home. Their Halloween parties and scavenger hunts were legendary. Sadly, John died of cancer in 1999. With her signature faith and resiliency, Mary moved on despite her grief, and remained active. Her confidence in her ability to thrive in spite of her losses led to even greater independence.
Mary lived a full and active life. She embraced each day as a gift and every person as a friend. Her days were filled with laughter and fun. A member of the Red Hat Society, she also enjoyed golfing, bowling, and good conversation. On Friday, November 12, 2021, she went into the hospital and her beloved family stayed by her side until she passed away in the early morning on Monday, November 15, 2021.
Mary's legacy of unwavering faith, enduring love, and endless generosity will long live in the hearts of those who were blessed to know her. Whether enjoying the labors of a home-cooked meal, welcoming loved ones into her home, playing the piano, encouraging others, or eating cheesy potatoes, Mary's family will find comfort and inspiration in their favorite memories. In these ways, Mary's beautiful spirit will be alive and continuing to fill the hearts of those she loved.
Mary T. O'Hearn, age 92, of Grand Rapids, passed away on November 15, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband, John; brothers Fr. Leo Dillenbeck, Rev. Frederick Dillenbeck CSSR, Robert (Anne) Dillenbeck Richard; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Gene (Delores) O'Hearn, Tom Newby, Tom O'Hearn, Dorothy O'Hearn, Carole Gunckel; sons-in-law Mickey Constantine and Dennis D. Cox; niece Kerry O’Hearn and nephew Jeff O’Hearn.
Family meant everything to Mary. On a daily basis, she told her family members how much she loved them, how proud she was of them, and how grateful she was to be blessed with such a large and loving family. She will forever be remembered by her children Kathy (Greg) Crowe, Jerry O'Hearn (Andrea Russell), Laurie (Terry) Constantine, Julie T. O’Hearn Cox, Anne Yondo, and Maureen K. Bundy; grandchildren David Crowe, Matthew (Danielle) Crowe, Sarah (Mark) Andrasko, Angela O'Hearn, Charlie (Emily) O'Hearn, Kevin (Melissa) O'Hearn, John (Erica) O'Hearn, Katie (Justin) Leugers, Eric (Megan) O'Hearn, Molly O'Hearn, Scout Russell, Lola Russell, Nathan (Allena) Constantine, Mary Letts, Denny (Angie) Cox, Sally Cox, Ashley (Brandon) Mosley, Jyssica (Christopher) Russell, Reilly (Kyle) Hendricks, Olivia Bundy, Adam (Dylann) Bundy; 33 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson; her sons-in-law Mark Yondo and Bob Bundy; nephew Michael (Ellie) Richard; many other nieces and nephews; and her companion: her cat Ziggy.
An important part of Mary’s life was practicing her faith. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, November 19, 2021 at 11 AM at St. Alphonsus Church. Visitation will be held at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive on Thursday from 5-7:30 PM where the Rosary will be prayed beginning at 7:30 PM. To read more about Mary, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com.