Mary O'BrienMary Chrysogelos O’Brien, known affectionately to many as Yia Yia, passed peacefully at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Connie O’Brien and Andy Boehm on December 18th.

The third of five children, Mary was born on November 28, 1919 in LaGrange, Georgia to Vasiliki and the Reverend John Chrysogelos.  The family moved frequently during Mary’s earliest years as her father, a Greek Orthodox priest, travelled to establish new churches, most notably being the founder and first priest of Saint Sofia’s Greek Orthodox Church in Albany, NY.

Following her father’s death when Mary was just five years old, her mother, a recently arrived immigrant, worked hard to keep the family together, settling the family in the Bronx where Mary attended the Greek American Institute of NY.  Mary spent other periods of her life in Brooklyn, on Long Island, in Pensacola Fl. and most recently as a 25 year resident of Juniper Manor in Trumansburg where she developed many treasured friendships.  Following in her Mother’s footsteps, she worked outside the home in support of her family.  She was employed by W.T. Grants and Woolworths for many years, starting as a sales clerk and eventually working her way up to become head of Human Resources.

Mom had a keen interest in reading and learning and was always willing to share her knowledge with others.  She took up painting in her seventies and was able to nurture her natural artistic ability while attending classes at Lifelong in Ithaca.  She was a devoted NY Mets fan and used her Greek language skills to beat us all in Scrabble.  Always proud of her Greek heritage, one of Mom’s greatest dreams came true when she had the opportunity to travel to Greece and visit the birthplace of her parents.  Above and beyond all else, our Mom will be remembered for her unwavering love, affection and devotion to her family.  With dignity and grace, she taught us how to love, how to care for one another and how to enjoy the simple joys and pleasures in life.

Mary was predeceased by her husband Frank, sisters Andree and Flora, and brothers Constantine and William.  In addition to her daughter and son-in-law, she is survived by sons Frank (Lynda) and John (Marsha Macdonald), grandchildren Frank (Dena) and Theresa Seaman (Keith), seven great grandchildren, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to send warmest thanks to Mary’s longtime, beloved “adopted daughter”, Dr. Michelle Blegen.  Thanks also to Darlene Kimple for being such a devoted helper and friend, and to the “Hospicare Crew”, most specially Adrian and Meg.

In keeping with Mary’s wishes, burial will be private, with a memorial to be announced at a later date.  If desired, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to Hospicare 172 E. King Rd. Ithaca, NY 14850, or St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church 120 W. Seneca St. Ithaca, NY 14850.