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1930 Mary 2024

Mary J. Held

July 19, 1930 — April 28, 2024

New Baden, IL

Mary Jane (Broderick) Held passed away peacefully Sunday April 28 2024 at Breese Nursing Home. She was surrounded by the love of her life, her 3 children and one grandchild at Breese Nursing Home.  She was born on July 19 1930 at home in Allison, Iowa the daughter of Paul J. Broderick and Hulde (Busse) Broderick.  Mary was born with her love of music and began playing the piano at an early age. She also sang in church and high school choir and belonged to glee clubs, (and almost every other club high school had to offer for that matter).  After graduating High School in 1948, Mary attended University of Northern Iowa during the summer, earning a teaching certificate.  That fall, she immediately started teaching rural school.  At 19 years old, in a one room schoolhouse with grades 1-8 by herself; she was brave.  With summers off, Mary was not about to sit around a small town.  Nope, she had many adventures with fellow teachers which included visiting South America and Machu Pichu, heading west and going down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon via mule, and traversing the western states and upper midwestern states.

Mary and Garnett met one fateful day because there was no parking to be found at a teacher’s conference in Des Moines, IA.  Mary and her fellow teacher Marie were supposed to attend the conference, but after circling the parking lot several times, Marie said “Let’s go one more time around, if we can’t find a spot, we’ll go visit my sister.”  There was no spot, so they visited Marie’s sister, Betty, who was Garnett’s sister-in-law.   Garnett happened to be staying with his brother Byron and Betty at the time. As soon as Garnett laid eyes on Mary, he was hooked and the 63+ years love story was born.  After one year of dating, they got married at St. James Lutheran Church in Allison Iowa on November 20 1960. 

Mary and Garnett moved to Tucson, AZ where they soon fell in love with the town, the mountains and the climate.  They built their home and raised 3 children there. Mary lived every minute of her life in service.  She was a faithful servant to our Lord.  She sang in church choir, taught bible school, played the piano at church, volunteered in school libraries, participated in church outreach programs, delivered countless holiday food baskets and worked on the church newsletter and has probably donated enough home cooked (baked) food to feed the world a meal during her lifetime.  She was a member of the OTT Y women’s club for decades and volunteered in many capacities throughout the years.  They served as a host family for “Up with People” youth.  She never hesitated to help someone in need, whether that meant a meal, a listening ear, a ride or a place to stay.  

Mary continued her love of travel after her marriage to Garn and he never argued. They visited almost every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. Every summer she endured a family trip in a station wagon loaded with 3 kids driving through several states sometimes with a trailer in tow. She worked, what seemed like tirelessly, to pack the trailer to head to Mount Lemmon for a few nights to get away from the heat. After her children were grown, they visited China, Germany (3) times, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France, Holland and England. Well into her 70’s and 80’s Mary was still travelling across the country. She was present at a large Broderick family reunion in Iowa, her son Jeff’s Master’s Degree Commencement in California, her grandson Paul's High School graduation in Illinois and his graduation from Kettering University in Michigan.  

Mary’s body was wearing out, but her soul was big and strong. Mary was still playing the piano into 2023 when she gifted her final song “Happy Birthday” to her daughter and she was still belting out a song or two as the feeling hit her.  Mary’s eyes and whole face continued to light up every time she saw Garn.  God put them together to show the rest of us what a marriage is supposed to look like. Mary’s life was well lived;  full of love, faith, family, friends, and chocolate. Always chocolate. 

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her sister and Brother-in-law Paula (Donald) Sells. She is survived by her loving family: her husband Garnett Held, are her son Jeffrey (Carine) Held; Teresa (David) Jones; Gregory Held; 4 Grandchildren Lynda (Austin) Jones; Jennifer (Keenan) Gunter; Paul Jones; Ryan Held; 6 great grandchildren; one brother William (Deanie) Broderick; one sister Patricia (Roger) Wubbena; and many nieces and nephews.

There will be a private family celebration of life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association and will be received at Nordike Funeral Home, 15 E. Hanover St., New Baden, IL 62265 who is serving the family.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary J. Held, please visit our flower store.

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