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Life Story / Obituary
Mary Alice Fredericks was a woman of great character and integrity who used her time and talents for the greater good. She encouraged, advocated, inspired and supported not only the family she held most dear, but those who needed a helping hand along life’s way. Mary Alice’s positive nature was evident in all she did. Through times of plenty and times of want, she believed there would always be enough to go around. She also lived appreciating the many blessings that came her way, and counted each day as the greatest of her life.
The year 1931 saw difficult days as the Great Depression created a jobless rate of nearly four million. Even so, American’s continued to be optimistic, and looked towards the future. Families across the nation were in awe as New York City opened the Empire State Building, and celebrated as the Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the U.S. national anthem. Yet in the city of Albany, New York, the birth of Mary Alice Tobin on February 5, 1931 was a most welcoming event in the lives of her family.
Mary Alice led a childhood typical of her generation. She grew up alongside her two brothers, Michael and Gerry, and attended the local schools. At the age of 11, life for Mary Alice soon changed when her mother sadly died. It was then when Mary Alice began living with her grandma, Aunt Bea and Uncle Bob who loved her dearly. Along with her devout Catholic upbringing, Mary Alice had aspirations of one day becoming a nun.
From 1948 to 1949, Mary Alice attended the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York. Following college, her plan was to further her desire to serve as a nun. Despite her best intentions, however, her life turned in an entirely new direction. When Mary Alice was 15 and still in High School, she met William Fredericks on a blind date. Mary Alice decided to leave college and marry the handsome William on September 9, 1950. Before long, they were blessed with a family to call their own.
Mary Alice made a good and loving home for William and their nine children. Alice was born in 1951, followed by Thomas in 1952. Kathleen came along in 1953, Gary in 1955, Kenny in 1957, and Suzanne in 1958. The year 1961 brought the birth of twins, William and Robert into their lives, and Mary Elizabeth completed their family in 1964. During these years, Mary Alice and her family moved from Albany to Kalamazoo, Michigan when her father-in-law, Grandpa Fredericks, landed a job there.
With nine children in tow, much of Mary Alice’s days revolved around her children and tending to her home. While she was the boss of the house, she “allowed” William to “think” he was, and put him in charge of disciplining the children. Mary Alice saw the good in each of her kids. She recognized their talents, and lovingly encouraged them to pursue their strengths. If one of her children was lacking in a certain area, Mary Alice was patient and worked with them to better themselves.
Mary Alice was nearly unstoppable in her desire to help the needy through her church. She also had a way all her own in championing the cause for children with learning disabilities, and was a great supporter of their parents. Her numerous experiences as an advocate for families inspired Mary Alice to further her education in 1970. After having her children, she earned her undergraduate and master’s degree in social work from Western Michigan University. Although she never went on to become a nun, Mary Alice was indeed used to serve in a mighty way. Throughout her 20 year career as a social worker, Mary Alice worked with Senior Services, the State Hospital, as well as Family and Children Services. She was an advocate for the less fortunate and dedicated her time and own money to help migrant workers and children with disabilities.
An inspiration to those around her, Mary Alice’s family benefited from her wise and loving example. She stirred in her children her passion for learning, and stressed the importance of family. One of the many lessons Mary Alice learned in life was that there would always be enough to go around. With so many in her family, they each learned to appreciate what they had as a blessing. Although their numbers were many, Mary Alice never hesitated in taking the time with each of her children and grandchildren to make them feel special and important.
Through the years, memorable times were shared. Every Christmas Eve, Mary Alice and her family got together with William’s extended family, and together they were sure to make each Christmas special. Even though they didn’t travel much, Mary Alice was able to take an exciting trip to Ireland with her good, college friend, Joyce. More importantly to Mary Alice, it meant the world for her to visit her children as they grew to have families of their own throughout the country.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein.
Mary Alice lived her life as if every day and everything was a miracle. She had a joy for living, grew from lessons learned, and counted her blessings. With unconditional love, Mary Alice was an inspiration and lived in service to others for which her children can be proud. Through her advocacy and encouragement, lives were changed and made richer as a result of her determined spirit. It was in her nature to lift others up, offering hope for brighter tomorrows. Although deeply missed, Mary Alice will be remembered fondly for her fine example and the treasured legacy she leaves behind.
Mary Alice (Tobin) Fredericks, age 84, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Saturday, July 18, 2015 at Hospice of Dayton. She is survived by her nine children: Alice Fredericks, Thomas Fredericks (Kathleen Krafft), Kathleen Gee (Christopher), Gary Fredericks (Vanda Molnarova), Kenneth Fredericks (Cindy), Suzanne Delger (Paul), William Fredericks (Debbie), Robert Fredericks (Cathy DeGraff), and Mary Burnham (Tim). She was the proud grandmother of 18 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren and aunt to numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, James Fredericks, and sisters-in-law, Kathy Becker (Mike) and Mary Jane Tobin. Mary Alice is preceded in death by her parents; her brothers; the love of her life, husband, William; loving in-laws, William Sr. and Gertrude Fredericks; and by cousins, Bobby and Carolyn Furrer.
Services will be held at 11:30 am on Saturday, August 15, 2015 at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900) where Mary Alice’s family will receive friends beginning at 10:00 am. Burial in the Riverside Cemetery. Please visit Mary Alice’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of Dayton, Ohio or to a charity of your choice.