Life Story for
Mary Ann Gervase
Mary Ann Brehun Gervase died October 16th, 2015
Mary Brehun was born June 6th, 1921 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to Vasyli Brehun and Veronica Kazista Brehun, both immigrants from Czechoslovakia, the first child soon to be followed by her sister, Ann. She was raised in the Russian Orthodox faith and remained a lifelong and devout practitioner. Mary was wedded to Matthew Gervase, November 22, 1942 and gave birth to her only child, Matthew Gervase, November 22nd, 1949. She worked in the banking industry for United Counties Trust, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, for 40 years and loved her work immensely. In fact, she would still be working there at age 94 if not for the banks’ mandatory retirement at age 65 clause! She was a natural at learning languages and was self-taught in 5 including Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Polish, and Spanish, which served her well in conversing with her bank clientele. Marrying into a Sicilian family, she soon found out that in order to survive Sunday dinners and family gatherings where only Sicilian was spoken, she needed to learn to speak Sicilian, which she quickly added to her repertoire of spoken languages! She multitasked with poise, juggling full time work, supporting her son and husband, as well as caring for her parents and parents in law as they aged. Among many qualities, she is remembered for being bright, articulate, inquisitive, stunningly beautiful, compassionate, and generous, a gifted story teller and definitely a master of the gift of gab. And she always acknowledged others kindnesses with her own brand of kindness, gifting so many of us with handmade kolache (filled cookies) and bejgli (poppy seed rolls), along with her beautiful handwritten notes.
Following retirement, she and her husband relocated first to Santa Fe, New Mexico and later to Twin Falls, Idaho, to be closer to their son and daughter in law. Following her husband’s death in 2006, and a brush with cancer, she relocated to Hailey, Idaho. Looking back, raising and parenting her son and watching him become the quality human being he is, was her proudest accomplishment, followed by surviving cancer at the age of 90! Her claim to fame...Frank Sinatra asked her out on a date when she was in her late teens, but Mom demurely informed him she didn’t date married men! Mom is 17 years old, 1938, in this photo. Her only regret-that she was not able to afford to attend college. She loved learning and was a gifted student.
As a relative newcomer to Blaine County and relocating here at age 90, the Gervase family extends our sincerest thanks to so many of you for taking Mom into our community. From Cari of Cari’s Hair Care for ensuring she was always impeccably coiffed; to Summit Apartment Director Lori Hansen, and her Summit neighbors, who checked in on her regularly; to Barb Espedal and Nicole Detra of the Senior Connection who offered us support all along the way; to Rico of Rico’s Pasta and Pizza, who always had a ready compliment for Mom when she came to dine. Our thanks to Officer Cox for sleuthing her “stolen” doormat and phone book police report! Don’t ask! And most recently, for Wood River Fire and Rescue, (Bass, Ely and Tom) who came to the rescue on a few of her falls, and finally, for transporting her to St. Luke’s Hospital for her last dance here on earth, surrounding her with humor and tenderness. She received the most competent and compassionate care from Dr. Morse and Home Health Nurse Bonnie Marsh, both whom she loved dearly. And during her final two days, she was surrounded by her St Luke’s caregivers-the nursing staff Blair, Betty, Kerry, Crisz, and Serena, as well as Carol of Healing Touch, Kathy of Hospice and Father Justin from our Catholic Parish here in the valley, all who contributed to making her last hours on earth painless, comfortable and safe. And to our dear family friend Kathy Pierce, who was always “at the ready” to assist Mom when her children were not available. You each in your own way made Mom feel so special and for that we are so deeply grateful.
-Dr. Mary Gervase, daughter in law.