December 21, 1953 – December 22, 2018
SOUTH BEND — Mary Elizabeth Resnik of Arlington Virginia, a former material science engineer at Naval Reactors, died Saturday, surrounded by her beloved family in Mishawaka, Indiana. She was 65. The cause was complications resulting from metastatic ovarian cancer.
Ms Resnik was the daughter of the late George A. and Mary Alice Resnik of South Bend. After graduating from St. Joseph High School, she attended University of Notre Dame, where she was in the first class with women admitted as freshmen.
She was in the forefront of the STEM movement for women long before it became fashionable. At Notre Dame she was the first woman to graduate with a degree in metallurgical engineering. She was also the first woman to be hired by Admiral Rickover to the technical staff at Naval Reactors.
Her career at Naval Reactors spanned 35 years from 1976 to 2011 as a Department of Energy employee. She and her female successors at Naval Reactors have brought civility and courtesy to the Naval Reactors work place that was characterized by a rough and tumble atmosphere before her arrival. Most of her time at Naval Reactors was spent in the material sciences division. She directed the cutting edge development and testing of new materials used in the reactor plants of the Navy’s nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. She was also active in extending the life of the plant materials that has enabled safe operation of the plants for up to five decades.
Ms Resnik’s favorite activity was gardening. For a quarter century she has kept a community garden plot at the Fort Barnard Garden in Arlington. Her garden was characterized by a cornucopia of vegetables and flowers. Her expertise was highly valued by her fellow gardeners. Each summer she produced 50 to 100 pounds of vegetables beyond her immediate needs that were donated to a local food bank.
In retirement, Ms Resnik became a master gardener where she brought her extensive knowledge of vegetable gardening to a broader audience in Northern Virginia.
She also coordinated a Nordic walking group in Arlington and participated in several Tai Chi groups.
Ms Resnik is survived by her significant other, Robert Farber, of Arlington Virginia; five sisters and three brothers: Ann Resnik, Kathy Horn, Barbara Resnik, George Resnik, Jim Resnik and Tom Resnik of the South Bend area, and Carolyn Houswerth of Batavia, Illinois and Patti (Jeff) Mattes of West Chicago, a niece, Sarah Horn of Mishawaka, and 8 nephews, James, Joshua (Elise) and Jacob Houswerth; Luke, Ben and Joseph Resnik; Mark and Zachary Mattes. She is also survived by 3 stepbrothers, 3 stepsisters and their children; Pat (Kathy) McManus, Don (Patti) McManus, Peggy McManus, Jean Geissler, Jan Williams, and Marty (Breann) McManus.
Visitation will be on Friday from 4-7pm at the McGann Hay Funerals / Cremations / Gatherings, Granger Chapel, 13260 SR 23, enter parking off Cherry Road. The Holy Rosary will be prayed in the funeral home on Friday. A Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate Mary’s life will be Saturday at 11:00am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, South Bend, corner of Hill and LaSalle. She will be buried with her parents at Highland Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to: Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.