Mary Anne T. Dietzler

  • Born: April 28, 1927
  • Died: March 15, 2018
  • Location: Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Donohue Funeral Homes, Inc.

8401 W Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Tel. (610) 449-0300

Tribute & Message From The Family

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

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.

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.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Sending hugs to the most loving & kind family. I know what a loss this is for them. I was able to provide loving care for Mrs D and meet her wonderful children. I will never forget you all.

Posted by Meg Dina - Springfield, PA - Friend   December 28, 2018

To the entire Dietzler Family, I just heard about your Mother's passing yesterday, to say I was shocked is an understatement. The love my Mother had for her was just beautiful. She adored the "O'Brien Girls", they were all perfect in her eyes. I was the flower girl in your parents' wedding, a memory I still hold dear. My prayers are with you all.
With love, Margie Doyle Koch

Posted by Margaret Doyle Koch - Glenside, PA - Family   September 03, 2018

My sincere condolences, thoughts, and prayers. Mary Anne is a beautiful radiant light of a soul, a devoted wife who raised a truly amazing family.

Posted by Robert Babish - Los Angeles, CA - friend   May 13, 2018

My sincere sympathy goes out to each Dietzler family member with the tremendous loss of the matriarch of the family. You were the most loving & dedicated family I have ever seen, as I have worked in senior health care for many years. Your mother was truly loved by each of you & she is smiling down from heaven knowing what a fine family she has raised. God bless you all as you are in my thoughts & prayers.

Posted by Rita Marie Mueller - Havertown, PA   March 19, 2018

Thank you for the blessing of your love. May the choirs of angels welcome her into eternal life and comfort your family. Praying.

Posted by Joseph Coleman - Parkside Delaware County, PA - friend   March 19, 2018

To all the Dietzler family. Thoughts and PRAYERS are with you. We have good memories from Taylor Avenue Mary was a wonderful Mother. May she rest in peace

Posted by Richard O Flynn family - Newtown Square, PA - Friend   March 18, 2018


Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord! And may perpetual light shine upon her! My prayers are with all of the Dietzler's at this time of loss and sorrow. Your parents can be extremely proud of all of you. The love they shared with you, lives on in each of you. Keep filling the world with that love! :-)

Posted by Joe Farrell, osa - Rome, Italy - Family Friend   March 17, 2018

May she rest in peace! Mary and Charlie were wonderful people to know and their children were a reflection of their great life.
Bill and Lucy Hanlon

Posted by Bill and Lucy Hanlon - Family Friend   March 16, 2018


Our deepest sympathy to the Dietzler family. What a gift Mary Anne was to your family, the community, the world, and the Body of Christ! Know that our prayers are with you. All of us at Malvern Retreat House are grateful for the ways that the Dietzler family has played a role in our history and the growth of our ministry. May Mary Anne rest in peace together with her beloved Charlie.

Posted by Mark Poletunow - Malvern Retreat House, PA   March 16, 2018


My heart goes out to the family and friends at this difficult time. May your memories give you peace and comfort.

Posted by Mandi Hurvitz - Villanova University, PA   March 16, 2018


To all of the Dietzler Family, My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you. Your Mom was like my second Mom growing up. Sometimes I think I spent more time at your house then I did at my own home. I loved to hear your Mom singing as she was cooking, or just to sit down and talk to her when I got older. Even with 9 of you in the house she always welcomed your friends with a smile. When we had our annual summer show for the neighbors. Your Mom never complained about us having it at your house, the playroom as the dressing room, I'm sure it drove her crazy, but she never said a bad word. Lindale Avenue will always hold such special memories. May all your wonderful memories get you through this sad time. I know your Mom and Dad are smiling down on all you. I can hear Mr. Dietzler saying as soon as Mrs. Dietzler entered Heaven "Look at the wonderful job we did" as they gaze at all of you. You were raised by awesome parents. They left a legacy with all of you.

Posted by Carol J. Gallagher - MORTON, PA - Family Friend   March 16, 2018

My deepest condolences and prayers for the family. Rest in peace.

Posted by Alicia Farrow - Villanova, PA   March 16, 2018


My condolences and best wishes to the family at this difficult time. May she rest in peace

Posted by Nancy Miller - Schwenksville, PA - Coworker   March 16, 2018


My thoughts and prayers are with the Dietzler family. Rest well gentle soul, rest in peace.

Posted by Sandra Green - Philadelphia, PA   March 15, 2018

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