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Mary Anne T. Dietzler

Obituary for Mary Anne T. Dietzler

April 28, 1927 - March 15, 2018
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania | Age 90

Beloved Wife, Loving Mother, Dear Grandmother and Great-Grandmother

Obituary

Mary Anne Dietzler (nee O'Brien) was born on April 28, 1927 to James and Mary Anne O'Brien (nee Tague). The family resided in Glenside. Her mother died when Mary was seven and for a short time Mary and her sisters attended Fontbonne Academy in Germantown and her brother Jimmy attended Norwood Academy. She made her First Holy Communion at St. Luke's Parish in Glenside where her mother's family lived on Woodlyn Avenue.

Her father remarried Catherine Reilly and the family moved to 312 Carpenter Lane in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. Her siblings were James, Bernadette (Dierkes), Margaret (Bruno) and Peter (son of James and Catherine).

Mary attended Cecelian Academy, only two blocks from her home. She was the Valedictorian for her class. She has maintained a lifelong friendship with her sorority sisters.

After high school Mary worked at her father's business, Lumber Service, in West Philadelphia. She studied singing and was a gifted soprano. She performed in plays at the Catholic Philopatrian Society and performed along with the founder of DeSales University's Theater Department, Father Gerard Schubert. Mary also performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Players led by Bruce Montgomery.

Mary met her future husband at a cousin's wedding, and she cajoled him to perform in The Mikado, where he played the "Lord High Executioner" with a black bag covering his head! This began a lifetime of performing and entertaining together as husband and wife, and mother and father.

Mary Anne married Charles B. Dietzler on October 2, 1954, the Feast of the Guardian Angels, and moved to 4104 Taylor Avenue in Drexel Hill, in St. Andrew Parish where they began their new life together. They had eight children while living there; Harry, Maryanne, Andrea, Michele, Timothy, Jeannine and the twins, Gail and Gregory. In 1965 Charlie and Mary Anne moved the family to 731 Lindale Avenue in Drexel Hill, also in St. Andrew Parish, where she lived for 62 years. Soon after settling at 731 Lindale, Mary gave birth to Suzanne, completing their family of nine children.

Mary Anne was a homemaker par excellence. A wonderful cook, Mary Anne ensured the family enjoyed dinner together around the family table which Charlie had made to seat eleven. Mary Anne often enjoyed her favorite pastime of shopping at 69th street and the Springfield Mall to purchase clothes for her children. Mary always had each child in a new outfit every Easter. She enjoyed decorating and remodeling the house and used many ideas from Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping.

Inspired by her love for Charlie and children, Mary wrote more than 75 poems commemorating their wedding anniversaries, children's birthdays and everyday events of the family. Her poems were made into two books, an illustrated version of "A Grandmom's House," and a published book of her poems titled "A Sing Song Kind of Life" illustrated by her daughter, Andrea.

Music was always part of the Dietzler home and Mary and Charlie enjoyed playing piano and singing. As founding members of the St. Andrew's Players, Charlie, Mary Anne and several of their children participated in George M!, My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Anything Goes, Dames at Sea and many others. Mary and Charlie enjoyed performing in the Archbishop Prendergast Parent Players, a troupe led by Babs Pinto to entertain at fundraisers for the school. Together they sang, "Who Taught Her Everything She Knows" from Funny Girl and enjoyed being part of the singers and dancers of the chorus. They also performed in A Gershwin Rhapsody at Prendie, with Mary singing "Summertime" and Charlie singing "I Got Plenty of Nothin'."

Mary Anne made Christmas unforgettable in the Dietzler home. She stayed up wrapping presents for nine children until the wee hours of the morning. Mary and Charlie were devout Catholics and their faith was central to their marriage and family.

The daunting task of taking nine children, including babies in diapers for a two-week vacation was no problem for Mary. She and Charlie managed to pack clothes, bathing suits, play pens, cloth diapers and nine children into a station wagon for unforgettable vacations to Ocean City, Mt. Pocono, Split Rock and even Colorado Springs.

Mary enjoyed the many family events that included first communions, graduations, and, eventually, wedding showers. She found creative ways to decorate her daughters' wedding showers and receptions and sometimes would secretly work in the back room on wedding decorations to avoid Charlie's ire at her late hours.

When weddings and grandchildren came along Mary loved the role of Grandmom. She filled the playroom with children's toys and enjoyed babysitting her grandchildren, making each one feel like they were her favorite. Mary has 31 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren (two deceased).

Mary and Charlie had a beloved group of friends from Lindale Avenue and the neighborhood and together staged themed parties and "Progressive Dinners." They enjoyed dressing in costumes and performing songs and skits.

Mary took a part time job with the Upper Darby School District pool, working in the office processing memberships. She worked there for more than 10 years. With her new found income she began a hobby of doll collecting and displayed more than 100 beautiful dolls in her home, many brought from around the world by her son-in-law, Joe.

Mary was a talented lyricist and wrote the words for the Upper Darby Summer Stage Theme song, "Magic Up Our Sleeve," which has been sung at more than 1,000 performances. She also wrote the lyrics for "On the Brink of Tomorrow," "Arabesque on a Star," and "Real," all of which were recorded on two Summer Stage CD's.

Of all Mary's accomplishments, she adored the roles of Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Her face lit up at the sight of a tiny face and a babbling toddler. She reveled in her children's and grandchildren's accomplishments and was a source of comfort in their challenges. Her poems express her love for her husband and their 60 year marriage and her family leaving a lasting remembrance of her wisdom and spirit.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to:
Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation
Summer Stage Scholarship Fund
601 North Lansdowne Avenue
Drexel Hill, PA 19026

The Nineteenth October is a poem written by Mary Anne for Charlie on the occasion of their 19th wedding anniversary…

The Nineteenth October

Busy you, busy me,
Hectic family life.
Rarely ever time to be
Simply man and wife.

Hurry here, hurry there,
Keeping up the pace
Hard to find a moment
To visit face to face

Hours fleeting, days a flying
Taking years to show
Just how much I love you
And why I need you so.

Through the thick, through the thin, And we've had our share
You have always proved your love, just by being there.
Lucky you, lucky me, being Dad and Mother
We can spend eternity, loving one another.

Mary Dietzler © October 2, 1973

Mrs. Dietzler was predeceased by her beloved husband, Charles B. Dietzler. She is survived by her loving children Harry A. Dietzler (Dorothy), Timothy Dietzler (Rosemarie), Gregory Dietzler, Maryanne Amole (Gerald), Andrea Clancy (Joseph), Michele Saunders (John), Jeannine Javage (Richard), Gail Donohue (Paul) and Suzanne Bruce (Jeffrey), 31 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren (2 deceased).

Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing Monday, March 19, 2018 9:00-10:50 AM St. Mary Magdalen Church, 2400 N. Providence Road, Media, PA and to her Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM. Interment SS Peter and Paul Cemetery, Springfield, PA.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation
    The Mary Dietzler Magic Up Our Sleeve Scholarship Fund
    601 N. Lansdowne Avenue
    Drexel Hill, PA 19026

Message from the Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
Please enhance this tribute to Mary Anne by adding your memories and photos.

Arrangements By

Donohue Funeral Homes, Inc.

8401 W Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
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