Mary Cecilia Roemer

                      January 27, 1940 – July 14, 2022

Mary Cecilia Roemer, 82, died on July 14, 2022 in the comfort of her home surrounded by family.  She was born in South Bend, Indiana, on January 27, 1940, to Carmel and William Roemer. 

Her mother was an elementary school teacher at St. Joseph Grade School, and her father was a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame.  Mary was the beloved little sister to five revered and remarkable big brothers:  Bill, Tom, Joe, Jim, and Chuck.  As the matriarch of the Roemer family, she is survived by three sisters-in-law; many nieces and nephews, cousins; and her four children: Paul Kusbach, Maria (Marc) Simon, Kathleen Kusbach (Mike Guzik), Anne (Tom) Petersen; along with fourteen adored grandchildren: Clair, Clay, Anne-Marie, Genevieve, Martin, Mark, Amelia, Tess, Lydia, Anna, Kurt, Kathryn, Eric, and Jonathan; and three dear great-grandchildren, Grant, Gabriella, and Kenneth.

Mary leaves behind a legacy of devotion to her family, friends, neighbors, and community. She went above and beyond to stay in touch with people. She understood the importance of ritual, holidays, remembrance, and of honoring significant events in life. She set an example of how to seize opportunities and get the most out of life through travel, education, and bringing people together.

Mary loved South Bend and her country. Well-versed in local, national, and world affairs, she set an example of critically engaged patriotism. She was an active and proud Democrat in local politics and contributed to numerous charities and projects, such as the recent historical restoration of the Studebaker Electric Fountain at Leeper Park.

Mary enjoyed hosting dinner parties and memorable occasions in her home.  Everyone felt welcome by Mary and marveled at her hospitality.  One of her favorite sayings was: “you win by inclusion.”  She had a huge heart and a ready smile.

Mary was a hard worker. As a young woman, she taught elementary school in New Jersey and at Perley School in South Bend.  She returned to school as a single mother and earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Notre Dame.  She was a counselor for twelve years at the Family and Children’s Center; for six years at the Omni Center for Women’s Health and Medicine; and for twenty-eight years in Private Practice, specializing in women’s health, couple and family counseling, and addictions.

Mary was curious. She loved conversation, reading, theater, the symphony, the fine arts, the movies, and big bowls of popcorn. She enjoyed nature and the outdoors, horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, racquetball, and biking.  Mary was not crazy about parasailing, but of course, she tried it.  She adored big dogs and long walks.

Mary was courageous.  She loved adventures, often sprinkling in a good bit of mischief along with exploring and traveling.  She drove across the country by car and traveled by train.  She went five times to the Grand Canyon, six times to France, and then to Argentina, Turkey, Singapore, England, Thailand, Germany, Canada, Austria, Morocco, Algeria, a boat ride on the Red Sea, and China. She loved New York City and Chicago and could not get enough of San Francisco. South Haven, Michigan was a summer haven in childhood and throughout her life with her children and grandchildren.

Profoundly involved in her grandchildren’s lives and supportive of their endeavors, Mary travelled across the country and world to cheer them on at as many of their plays, concerts, sports, and extracurricular activities as she could. Her father’s motto to “keep your courage” was continuously tested during the last four years of Mary’s life, as she suffered greatly following a horrible auto accident in 2018 on the highway home from a visit to support her grandchildren’s activities in person.

Resolute to persevere and celebrate the joys of life, as always, she refused to miss out and dug deep. She was a powerful inspiration to many.  Mary appreciated and practiced a strong Catholic faith.  She was prayerful and grateful for the goodness of God.

A Mass of Christian Burial (and much singing per Mary’s request) will be held at the Church of Loretto on the campus of St. Mary’s College on August 19, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. with
internment immediately following at Cedar Grove Cemetery on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the St. Joseph County Community Foundation, or the charity of the donor’s choice.


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