Mary LeMay

Mary LeMay

August 06, 1928 - February 13, 2013

Mary LeMay

August 06, 1928 - February 13, 2013


Mary Rose LeMay

Mary Rose LeMay of Irvine, California, a lifelong Catholic, entered heaven on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 13) 2013 at age 84.

She was born Mary Rose Dicks on Aug. 6, 1928, in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was the third of six children of Joseph and Rose Dicks. After graduating from St. Joseph Academy in St. Paul in 1946, Mary went to work as a secretary for Pitney Bowes and rose through the ranks to become regional office supervisor at age 21, traveling extensively to assist new branch managers in multiple states.

She gave up her promising career to marry Army veteran James Edward LeMay on Aug. 5, 1950, in St. Paul, Minnesota. During the early years of their marriage, Jim completed his master’s degree.

Mary and Jim had seven children: Steve, Susan, Jean, Bob, Pete, Phil and Judi. The family moved often for Jim’s work as a salesman, living in St. Paul, Minnesota; Montgomery, Alabama; Bloomington, Minnesota; Binghamton, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Park Ridge, Illinois. At each location they became active members of a local Catholic parish.

In addition to raising seven energetic children, Mary managed to donate her time to various organizations. She became head of volunteers at Resurrection Hospital in Chicago and was a lay minister at Mary, Seat of Wisdom, in Park Ridge. She also counted the collections on Sundays after mass. Although she usually avoided the spotlight, many friends and family have vivid memories of Mary as a singer and dancer in Chez Paris, an annual musical revue fundraiser at the church. Jim and some of her children also sang or performed at the some of these events.

After their children were grown, Mary and Jim moved to San Diego, California, and later to Irvine where she was part of the first group of volunteers at Irvine Medical Center, which opened in 1990. The couple was active at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Irvine, sometimes serving as a Eucharistic minister, reader or counter of the collections.

While in Chicago in 2010 for their grandson Matt’s wedding, Mary and Jim were surprised by a 60th wedding anniversary party thrown by their children. Many friends and family members from the Midwest attended the event, which included a slide show of photo memories and the family’s secret recipe Mahogany Cake.

Mary and Jim had moved to Regents Point retirement center in 2009. As her dementia worsened, Mary lived in special sections of the facility that offered the care she needed. Jim, her dedicated husband, visited her often and always brought a sweet smile to her face.

In addition to her four sons and three daughters, Mary had seven grandchildren and a great-grandson (born in September 2012). Although her family was spread across the country, they participated in a weekly online chat and gathered every few years for a reunion where her grandchildren marveled at Mary’s proficiency at “Uncle Norm Ball,” which consists of catching and quickly tossing a squishy ball to one another.

Mary loved to play bridge, work crossword puzzles and try to outsmart the contestants on “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” (which she frequently did).

Mary will always be remembered as a bright, witty, loving woman and a devout Catholic. She is survived by her husband, Jim; son Steve LeMay and wife Nancy of Coppell, Texas; daughter Susan LeMay of Santa Ana, California; daughter Jean LeMay Silarski and husband David of Houston, Texas; son Bob LeMay and wife Bonnie of Downers Grove, Illinois; son Pete LeMay and wife Chris of Madison, Wisconsin; son Phil LeMay of Irvine; daughter Judi LeMay Franz and husband Norm of Irvine; sister Carol McElroy of St. Paul, Minnesota; grandchildren Tom LeMay of Madison, Wisconsin; Beth LeMay Winder and husband Nick of Ridgeland, Mississippi; Matt LeMay and wife Lianna of Green Bay, Wisconsin; Melanie LeMay of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Navy ET3 Jeff LeMay and wife Emily of Hampton, Virginia; Joe LeMay of Downers Grove, Illinois; and Richard LeMay of Madison, Wisconsin; and great-grandson Tiernan LeMay of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A very special person, Mary was beloved by her extended family.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road S.W., Lilburn, Georgia 30047 (

Mary’s life will be celebrated at a viewing Thursday 7- 9 pm at O’Connor Mortuary, 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, with a rosary at 7:30 pm. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 am Friday at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 9 Hillgate, in Turtle Rock, with a reception following.

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3 responses to Mary LeMay

  1. Susan LeMay says:

    Mom, you will be missed but we know you are at peace. Love Sue

  2. To Susan, Jim and the entire family,
    We are saddened to hear about Mary’s passing. Tim, I (and Allison) extend our most sincere condolences to each of you. Unfortunately, we are unable to atend the services tonight or tomorrow. Since Mary’s passing, you have been, and will remain in our thoughts and prayers.
    At this time of grief, allow yourselves to find moments of peace, and even joy, that come from the sharing of your sweet memories of your lives with her. Find strength from the love and support of family and friends that suround you.
    May God bless Mary and each of you!
    The Gooch Family – Tim, Ann and Allison

  3. Terry Linder says:

    Dear Family,

    I met Mary Rose in 1999 when I was a Social Worker intern for Henry Ford Hospice at the Bon Secours office on Vernier. She made me feel so welcomed and loved with her kindness and smile. I felt this immediately. I am so saddened to hear of this sudden tragedy. My condolences to her husband and family for your great loss.


    Terry Linder

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