In Memoriam : Mary Leo

Mary Leo - age: 77
(May 27, 1941 to May 28, 2018 )
Resident of Chicago, Illinois

Visitation Information:
Visitation Friday, June 1 from 4-8:30 pm at

Benson Family Funeral Home
3224 W. Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

Funeral Mass Saturday, June 2nd, 10 am (gather at funeral home at 8:45 am)

St. Bonaventure Oratory
1641 W Diversey Pkwy

Cremation, private.

Leo, Mary Eloise, nee Kretz, age 77, passed on May 28, 2018 in Chicago, IL.

Mary was the beautiful and beloved wife of Tom Leo, loving mother to Nicola (Joe) Avena, and an amazing woman of strong values. Her gifts of wisdom, care and boundless love made a significant impact on the lives of others.

Mary was born and raised in Chicago by her parents Lillian and Joseph Kretz. She was the oldest – (preparation for her future teaching grade schoolers?) of her siblings, Richard (Julie), Barbara (Bob) Mowinski, Bart and Ed. Mary may have been bitten by the travel bug thanks to the many trips her father took across the U.S. with all five kids in tow. Early on Mary must have developed an appetite for a variety of culinary cuisines along with a keen desire to avoid wasting food as Mary was a marvel at repurposing leftovers.

For several years, as a member of the Felician sisters, Mary taught grade school in and around the Chicago area. She also trained teachers through the CCD office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Together with her husband, Mary started MTLAFC, a Family Counseling agency. Over 40 years later, MTLAFC Inc. continues to serve a multitude of families throughout the Chicago area.

Women’s issues were of great importance to Mary. She believed the suppression of women in any context was not to be tolerated and she continually supported and worked toward gender equality.

Mary and Tom enjoyed traveling. They visited countries too numerous to mention in 5 of the 7 continents. Particular favorites were their numerous trips to Latin America and Europe.

An ardent lover of Garage Sales, Mary gave new life to objects that others may have ignored. She was instrumental in success of the neighborhood garage sales held each year. Mary’s treasures from traveling and “sale-ing” made the Leo home a fun and interesting place to visit, for the unique décor as well as the gracious hospitality.

The open door, open heart policy to which Mary subscribed, extended to family and friends of all ages, genders and personalities. Because of her genuine interest in people, Mary made and kept friends wherever she went. It was not unusual for Mary to strike up a conversation with someone and soon be having lunch or corresponding with them on a regular basis.

Mary will be greatly missed by her nieces Kaitlin, Tricia, and her nephews, Adam, Brian, Conor, Dick, Matthew, Nathan and Tyler, as well as her many grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. Mary loved them all as only a devoted Aunt can.

Mary warmly welcomed Tom’s five sisters, their spouses, and their families, (Marge, Jack, Pat, Bob, Bernie, Owen, Rose, Jim and Jo Anne) into her life with Tom. They in turn, thank Mary for putting up with them and for smiling through the telling of another “family story.”
Wake services will be held Friday, June 1, Benson Funeral Home, 3224 W. Montrose, Chicago, 4-8:30PM. Funeral Mass will be Saturday, June 2, at 10AM at St. Bonaventure Oratory, 1641 W. Diversey, Chicago.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Mary’s name to your favorite charity would be appreciated.