MaryAnn Mertz, age 79, passed away peacefully July 8, 2021. MaryAnn was born in Humboldt Park, Chicago, Illinois to Stella and Peter Jensen. She married Arthur Mertz in 1967.
In the 1960s, while working for Alitalia Airlines, MaryAnn was able to fulfill her love of travel. MaryAnn and Art went on many impromptu international adventures from Peru to Fiji to Mexico. Her joy in sharing travel adventures with others prompted her career as a luxury travel agent for over 20 years.
MaryAnn carried on the Jensen family love of cooking and feeding people. She always had the makings for a small feast in the fridge and often whipped up a gourmet meal for dozens of family members and friends. She passed that love on to her daughter, Amy.
MaryAnn was an avid gardener. She looked forward to participating in the annual Dearborn Garden Walk while living in Chicago. MaryAnn and her longtime companion in life, Bruce Gillis, spent many hours landscaping their yards and the yards of their churches. Upon moving to Alameda, MaryAnn took charge of her daughter’s weed patch and quickly converted it into a beautiful and thriving drought-tolerant garden.
From an early age, MaryAnn showed her creative crafting side. She taught herself to sew and was able to drape a dress in a day. She loved to knit and needlepoint; she was especially proud of the piece she donated to the Altar Guild of St. Chrysostom’s Church in Chicago. As a grandmother, she was often found at the kid’s table, showing the youngsters how to craft handmade holiday ornaments.
Being a grandmother to Eli and Ezra was MaryAnn’s greatest source of joy. She was delighted that Ezra was college bound and that Eli was engaged to Natasha Won.
MaryAnn leaves behind her daughter, Amy (Mertz) Frary; son-in-law JP Frary; grandsons Elijah Frary Kerns and Ezra Frary, companion Bruce Gillis; brother Len Figura, and many nieces and nephews and friends that felt like family.
MaryAnn is preceded in death by her husband Arthur Mertz.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) at https://www.alamedaanimalshelter.org.
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