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Obituary for Mary Vanek

Mary Lorraine Vanek, “Aunt Lou,” died January 14 at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch at the age of 74. Born December 1, 1942 in Hazleton, PA to John and Frances (Ferry) Vanek, Mary graduated from St. Ann’s High School and enlisted in the Army where she served more than 30 years as a nurse and achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class. She was a four-time award recipient of the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) for exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity in active Federal Military Service. After retiring from active duty, she continued to work as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at Fort Monmouth until its closure in 2011. Mary was a loving and doting aunt to her two nieces, Stephanie and Jessica. During their summer visits to Long Branch, Aunt Lou enjoyed sitting on her porch and playing board games with them, as well as watching fireworks with them on the boardwalk. Aunt Lou had a huge heart and was generous to everyone she met. From working extra shifts at the hospital on holidays to give her co-workers time with their families, to buying the latest toys for her neighbor’s children, Aunt Lou went out of her way to help people. In addition, Mary loved to read and was an active and dedicated member of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, where she volunteered on a weekly basis. She was also an avid animal lover, particularly dogs. Throughout her life, she rescued many dogs and welcomed them into her home, including her most recent pet, Lucy Lou. Mary is survived by her loving nieces, Stephanie Delese and her husband, Ron (Freeland, PA), and Jessica Iben (Newark, DE) and her brother-in-law, John Iben (Freeland, PA), life-long friend, Joan Turnbach and her husband, Wally (Freeland, PA), as well as many cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Frances (Ferry) Vanek (Freeland, PA), brother, John Vanek (Freeland, PA), sister, Jean Marie Iben (Freeland, PA) and her best friend, Marion Cuprys (Long Branch, NJ). A funeral Mass is scheduled for Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish (Freeland, PA). A private interment will follow the Mass. All are welcome to attend the funeral Mass and celebrate Mary's life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Monmouth County SPCA, 260 Wall Street, Eatontown, NJ 07724 or donate online at www.monmouthcountyspca.org.


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