Tuesday, April 7, 2015
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
Friday, April 10, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church
117 West Main Street
Danville, KY 40422
Danville services arranged with Stith Funeral Home (800) 750-7416
Bronson Health Foundation
301 John Street, Box C
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
To know Mary Sardone was to know the very essence of style, beauty, and charm. Mary lived life to the fullest, making the world a wonderful place not only for her husband and her children but for all those in her presence. Always seeing the best in others, always giving the best of herself, Mary found possibility, enjoyment and fulfillment in each and every day—a true reflection of how she lived her life.
Mary was born on March 28, 1930, the first child of Frank and Fonda Pignatelli. Mary’s father worked at Goodrich in Akron while her mother took care of everything at home, making a wonderful life for Mary and her beloved brother, Bart. She enjoyed her role as an older sister and thrived in her close, happy family.
Mary graduated from North High School in Akron in 1947. She was popular with her classmates, making many friends along the way. Her years at North High would hold a special place for her. What Mary didn't know was that North High had produced another graduate several years earlier with whom she would build a life and a family. His name was Andrew (Andy) Sardone. It was a New Year’s basketball game that brought them together. At the urging of her friend, Kathy (Andy’s brother Joe’s wife) Mary accepted Andy’s invitation to the game. Over the years, Mary told the real story: she actually broke a date with another young man to go to the game with Andy. And the rest, as they say, is history. Yes, it was love at first date!
Andy had been in the Air Force for a year following his graduation from Purdue University with a degree in engineering. Andy knew without a doubt that Mary was the one for him. She was outgoing, fun, and lovely in every way. The two of them had a marvelous time together. It was at a time when Andy was away, alone with his thoughts, that he decided he better not wait any longer. So he wrote a letter for his dad to take to Mary and read to her, and yes, it was “the proposal!” On the 21st of June, 1952, at a picture perfect wedding, Andy and Mary became husband and wife.
The newlyweds returned to San Antonio, TX, where Andy was stationed. Upon completion of his service, the newlyweds returned to Akron and started their family with the birth of their son, Vincent. Mary managed the household as Andy worked long hours at Firestone in the Executive Leadership Program and graduate school for his MBA. It was a busy time for the young couple and two more children--Carmel and Frank--soon joined the household. During this time the family had many happy times with Joe and Kathy and their family and Bart and his wife, Rita, and their family,
In 1962, Andy was promoted and the family moved to Spartanburg, SC. In her characteristic style, Mary embraced the charm of the South. After several years in Spartanburg, the family grew again with the addition of their daughters, Andrea and Mary Ann.
Family was everything to Mary and she created a home and joy wherever she was. One of Mary’s unique talents was her cooking and she was fearless in the kitchen, having grown up watching her mother and never missing a detail. She honed her talent over the years. Her children estimate that she prepared around 40,000 meals by the time Mary Ann graduated from high school. She loved preparing and presenting every single one of them, always properly setting the table for the entire family to gather at the end of the day. For Mary and Andy, meal time was important family time.
Another promotion took the family to Danville, Kentucky, where Mary became active in Sts. Peter and Paul Church and the children’s school activities, especially Andrea’s and Mary Ann’s competitive tennis. The older children continued to rely on her guidance as they proceeded through college and into their careers and as Vince and his wife, Paula, began their family. Andy continued his dedication to his career. In his free time he enjoyed golf at the Danville Country Club.
Mary’s shopping skills, both for herself and her children, were legendary. Whether it was china, clothing or antiques, she knew quality and knew where to look for it. Following the demise of the great department stores, which she loved, she became an expert catalog shopper. Mary appreciated collecting fine things and lovingly passed that trait along to all of her children.
To put it simply, Mary was a charming woman. She lived with style--from her beautiful hair, to always looking her finest, to her outgoing personality, to her involvement in the community--she was truly a pleasure to know. Together, Mary and Andy made a wonderful life, raising their children and loving each other. Throughout their hectic and happy life, Mary and Andy inspired their children to strive for the best and stressed the importance of community service.
All of Mary’s strength and resourcefulness were summoned one unfortunate day when Andy unexpectedly passed away. Left alone with their two youngest children, Mary proved to be strong. Her determination and fortitude served her well. She kept going and found support with her family and all the friends she had in various clubs and church.
Eventually, Mary moved to Kalamazoo, MI, to be near her son, Frank, and his wife, Susan. Kalamazoo was also conveniently located midway between daughter Carmel in Chicago, and Vince’s family in Ann Arbor. She enjoyed her condo in Kalamazoo and made many friends there. Mary wintered at her home in Roswell, GA, to be close to her youngest daughter, Mary Ann, who was starting her family with husband Chris. During these years she found special enjoyment in being a grandmother and visiting her grandchildren on holidays. She also enjoyed trips to Williamsburg, VA, to visit daughter, Andrea.
Sadness struck again when her son, Vincent, died unexpectedly. Again, Mary relied on her own resilience and the support of family and friends, and especially the admiration she had for Vincent’s wife, Paula and their children (Amanda, Andrew, and Anthony).
Mary was proud of all her children and grandchildren, taking pride in their educations, their careers, and the knowledge that, like her, they valued the finer things in life. She said one of her greatest achievements was seeing all of her children attain executive-level positions before each turned 40 years old.
Five years ago, Mary moved to the Fountains at Bronson Place where she made many new friends. Mary then moved to Bronson Commons where she, as usual, made many friends, especially with the dedicated and caring staff. Always one to bring something to the party, Mary introduced Turner Classic Movies to the younger staff members. Mary will always be remembered for her ever present smile and her determination to move forward in life.
Sadly, after being diagnosed with cancer in July of 2014, Mary passed away on April 2, 2015. She will be remembered forever by her family and friends for the joy she brought to their lives, for the love she shared with her husband, her children, and grandchildren and for the lessons of living she passed on to all of them.
Mary and her family will be forever grateful to all of the staff at Bronson Commons, Bronson Methodist Hospital, and Bronson practices who cared for her.
Formerly of Danville, KY, Age 85, died April 2, 2015 at Bronson Commons, Mattawan. Mary was born March 28, 1930 in Akron, OH, the daughter of Frank and Fonda Pignatelli. She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Andrew Sardone in 1983; and by a son, Vincent Paul Sardone in 2010. Surviving are 4 children: Carmel Ann Sardone, Frank J. Sardone (Susan Fall), Andrea Sardone and Mary Ann (Chris) Watford; daughter-in-law, Paula Sardone; 5 grandchildren: Amanda, Andrew (Jen) and Anthony Sardone, and Ava and Liza Watford; brother, Bart (Rita) Pignatelli and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Tuesday from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home-Betzler- Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr. (800) 822-7594. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Danville, KY on Friday April 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church with burial services following at Bellevue Cemetery in Danville. Danville services arranged with Stith Funeral Home, (800) 750-7416. Please visit Mary’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Bronson Health Foundation or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.