On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, Mary Rita Gaschler, loving wife and mother, passed into eternity at age 74.
Mary was born October 17, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois, to Mary and John ‘Dee’ Curran, Irish immigrants eager to create a wonderful life in the United States. Mary was one of five children and the youngest sibling to Jack, Therese, Joe, and Bobby. Mary took enormous pride in her Irish heritage and Chicago upbringing. It was in Chicago, in 1966, that Mary met Dennis at a Loyola University dance. Dennis, ever the outgoing and gregarious person, unabashedly approached young, beautiful and shy Mary and asked her to dance. Mary would later go on to tell her family that she loved Dennis from the very start. Mary and Dennis were married February 8, 1969, and two years later began their family with Kristy, Brian, and Kerry, settling happily in the suburbs just south of Denver in 1980.
Mary was a dedicated and nurturing mother who also worked full-time as an Executive Administrative Assistant to various cable and entertainment executives. Despite her commitments to her work, she never failed to pack lunches for the children, to have dinner on the table in the evening, and to help with any school projects along the way. Her dedication to a warm and nurturing household could be physically seen as well, as Mary never missed a chance to decorate the house for the season. Whether for spring, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, the summer, the autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas, there was always a collection of wreaths and decorations placed with care all throughout the home. Her connection to Ireland especially was notable, and she proudly adorned herself and the household walls with various tributes to her Irish ethnicity.
Holidays, in particular, were important to Mary. These were times when she would go out of her way to make time-consuming meals for the family. And she never let adversity stand in the way. During the infamous Denver blizzard of 1982, which occurred just before Christmas Eve and wherein the entire city was shut down due record-breaking snow, Mary used her resourcefulness to gather what foods were available at home to create a unique Christmas Eve dinner that would become a holiday tradition that survives even today amongst the family.
Outside the home, Mary loved to garden and plant seasonal flowers, especially nurturing her large rose garden in the backyard. She never lost her love of planting flowers or receiving flowers, even when the labor of planting became increasingly difficult for her. Mary also loved spending time with her grandchildren—watching their various sporting events, baking, and enjoying meals together. Another pastime Mary enjoyed was reading books. Not only was she a voracious reader, but she participated in various book clubs with family and friends. When she wasn’t reading, she made time every morning over her beloved coffee to apply her vast knowledge of things to crossword puzzles from the New York Times. These enjoyments would sometimes extend to the evening, over a glass of her beloved white wine.
Mary was as kind and compassionate a person as any to ever walk among us. Renowned for her own selflessness and stoicism to her own needs and discomfort, she always put the needs of family and friends first. She had a beautiful, contagious smile and a great sense of humor, clever and witty and always enjoying a good laugh. She could not have married a better man than Dennis in this regard, who himself could never stop joking and making Mary laugh. Her positive disposition cannot be overstated: never one to complain, not even at her very end, those who knew Mary well, knew also of her love for smiling as she would say, “I’m fine,” whenever adversity would present itself. Even in her final moments with us, facing her inevitable departure from this life, she reminded us that she was “still fine” and would “be fine” after her passing. When the priest came to give Mary her Last Rights and asked if she had anything to confess, she quickly and accurately told the priest, “I have nothing to atone for.” If you were lucky enough to know Mary, you would know this was true.
Before bedtime every night, Mary would say a prayer for her husband and children, her family and friends. A more devoted, kind and generous person could not be found. The loss of Mary’s presence in the lives she touched is bottomless. But those who survive her are vastly better and stronger people as a result of her endless love.
She is preceded in eternity by her father and mother, John ‘Dee’ and Mary Rita Curran, and her siblings, Jack Curran, Therese Rattigan and Bobby Curran. She is survived in life by her husband, Dennis Gaschler, married over 54 years together; their three children, Kristy LeGrande, Brian Gaschler, and Kerry Powell; their five grandchildren, Madeleine LeGrande, Sophie LeGrande, Mia LeGrande, Trey Powell, and Mary Powell; and her elder brother, Joe Curran.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital