Mary Irene Marach, was born in 1924 in Chicago, to Peter & Anastasia Bihun, both of Ukrainian descendant; he originally from Saskatchewan Canada; she from Kiev Ukraine. Mary by all accounts was a feisty gal, an independent soul and smart. She was the oldest of four children had by Pete and Ana. At 15 when she was on a roller rink adventure with her two sisters, Rose, and Eleanor, she met 18-year-old Bob…. Robert Anthony Marach…. who became Mary’s “Forever Love of her Life”. Mary and Bob were inseparable, her always attending Bob’s music gigs (Bob was a drummer and had a trio playing various venues); he making a living playing drums as well as studying to be an electrician and then eventually working as one. Mary finished high school and looked for Bob to pop the question! WW II came along, and Bob did pop the question asking Mary to marry him before he joined the Army Air Corps. Well of course Mary said YES…and in August of 1942 they married at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church in Chicago.
So, Bob joined the Army Air Corps and Mary followed him to different duty stations he was assigned to around the U.S. In fact, she worked in the Air Corp’s administration offices of the various airfields her Love was stationed. Once the war was over the two moved back to Chicago, now to pursue Bob’s love of electronics and raise a family. And that’s what they did. Mary got pregnant with Roger who was born in August of ’45; Bob started working for Westinghouse, then Raytheon while also attending night school for a degree in electrical engineering. (Mary always got a kick out of telling everyone she and Bob got married on August 8 and Roger was born August 11th……but three years later!)
Mary and Bob had a goal to make a better life for themselves and their children. Considering Mary worked all through their first years of marriage she yearned to get back into the labor market after Roger came along so she could do her part in bringing home the proverbial bacon and improving the family’s income. She worked on the second shifts at Mars Candy, Zenith Radio, and a few other places until she landed a sweet administrative job at Bankers’ Trust. Through all this time she had a daughter in 1950 who died shortly after birth. This was devastating to Mary and Bob who thought they could never have any more children. Then Gary came along in 1952. SURPRISE! But a welcome one, nonetheless.
Through all this Mary continued to work and support Bob in his quest to not only get his degree but advance in his professional career. They bought their first house in ’56; redecorated, raising two boys while enjoying the postwar years and the fruits of their efforts. Things were swell.
Bob’s career moved from electronic engineering to electronic test equipment sales. As he grew in his knowledge of this type of equipment and with his electrical engineering background, he became noted throughout the Chicago metro area for his experience and expertise of these types of devices. After discussion after discussion, Mary convinced Bob to start his own business providing calibration and repair of the various electronic test equipment in the market at the time for companies throughout the Midwest. Thus, Standards & Calibrations Inc. was born in 1964. Mary of course was always a staunch supporter of Bob and his efforts to grow a successful business. Eventually she left Bankers’ Trust and worked with him as a partner and the business’ administrator.
As the business prospered, the Marach clan expanded. Roger went to the Illinois Institute of Technology for a degree in Economics after returning from the Marines and Vietnam. He then found his love of his life and married Mary Catherine (aka “Cathy”), a young lass from the Southern Illinois area who had graduated from St. Louis University with a degree in nursing. They married in ’72 and had a son born to them, Matthew Peter in ’80. (Mary’s one and only grandson and love of her life.) Gary went to De Paul University in Chicago, received a degree in accounting, got his CPA and then found the love of his life, Christine.
Bob and Mary’s business prospered until Bob suddenly died in ’86. Mary was heartbroken. But she persevered continuing to run the business until she sold it in ’90. She figured she retire, but that wouldn’t be the case.
You see, Mary was definitely a workaholic. Though she sold the business and could retire, she needed to do something. Hey, she was only in her early sixties. She then got into real estate…. getting her license and selling homes. She also worked part time in various other endeavors when the real estate market slowed.
In ’95, Roger and Cathy now living in Arizona after Roger’s company had moved their corporate offices to the Grand Canyon State convinced Mary to come to AZ to live. The couple bought her a brand-new condo in Scottsdale, got her moved in and low and behold, after assuming Mom could now relax and enjoy a new phase of her life, discovered Mary had found a full-time job! Not only a day job but another part time evening gig working in the jewelry department at Walmart!
Life for Mary was good in her adopted state. She enjoyed finding new friends and acquaintances, exploring Arizona with her kids and grandson Matt as well as seeing him grow up and become an accomplished student in high school and graduating cum laude from Arizona State University. Through all this, Mary of course found another full-time job working as a contract administrator for Caremark/CVS. She started there when she was in her seventies and worked there until she retired at 94! Unbelievable.
Though she had lived in Arizona since ’95, 26 years, Mary was still a Chicagoan at heart, rooting for the Bears, a BIG CUBS FAN (Why? Who knows!) and of course watching WGN every night on cable. Heck, she knew more of what was going on in Chicago than in Arizona! She was independent, enjoyed a good laugh, good scotch and loved talking politics, plus spending time with her grandson Matt.
Then on a sunny Saturday morning in late April 2019, shortly after retiring from CVS, Mary was in a serious auto accident in which a driver of a pickup truck was moving too quickly making a left turn and not watching for oncoming traffic ran smack into her as she was coming back from shopping. Mary’s world of independence was shattered. She was brought into the emergency room in a local hospital where the doctors felt she had little chance to survive. But of course, she did. Certainly, for Mary, things were touch and go for a while; operations galore to repair broken ankles, legs, hip and arm plus the mental trauma of the accident itself. Though Mary could never walk again, she persevered as always…. Matt calling her the Marach version of the “Energizer Bunny”!
Due to these medical problems Mary’s overall health started to decline, though she was sound of mind. Unfortunately, she couldn’t live on her own, and had to be moved into an assisted living facility in Scottsdale. She enjoyed the company of the other residents and caregivers at the home and visiting Roger and Cathy’s place from time to time, but it wasn’t the same independence she had prior to the accident. Her physical health worsened but she continued to be as feisty and mentally astute as ever until one day, April 1, 2021 at the age of 96, she just decided to leave all her worldly pain and health struggles behind and join Bob and Gary in Heaven. (Gary had suddenly passed in ’01.) You must know she is up there today and probably just as feisty as ever, talking politics and giving the angels a hard time!
WE’RE GOING TO MISS YOU MOM!