Mary Ellen Kernan, nee Collins; Beloved wife of the late William Kernan; Devoted mother of Laura (Rick) Hurst; Loving daughter of the late Richard and Elizabeth Collins; Dear sister of the late Richard Collins, Elizabeth Casey and Patricia Bombenger; Dear grandmother of Timothy, Ted and Torianne Hurst; Dear aunt of 15 nieces and nephews, 19 great nieces and nephews and 17 great grand nieces and nephews.
Mary’s life was dedicated to all her family members and friends.
Mary was a strong Irish woman who loved fiercely and always saw the bright side of life. Her
glass was not just half full it was always overflowing with love and kindness. Mary was a role
model and made contributions in every community she resided in. She set up the parish school
library, was a crossing guard, a girl scout leader, an election volunteer, and worked at the
Misericordia thrift shop.
Mary was a gracious hostess. She enjoyed having a full house of people and guests were
always welcomed anytime of day or night. Mary always had candy bowls full of treats and
goodies. Pretzel rods, cherry sours, thin mints, nuts, baked goods and rootbeer floats were
some of her staples that she always had on hand. She was even known to sometimes have a
candy dish in the bathroom to the delight of her nephew.
Both of her parents were natives of Ireland. Her father was born in Limerick and her mother in
Sligo. Her Father worked for the railroad with Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad. Childhood
vacations were train trips to St. Louis and New York to visit relatives.
Mary was born and raised in Chicago. She attended St Thomas Aquinas elementary school and
Providence High School.
Mary and her husband Bill lived a block apart as children. They were married in 1950 and
celebrated 59 wonderful years.
Mary worked for AT&T for many years before moving to San Antonio, Texas which became her
home for 15 years. In 1975 they returned to the Chicago area and settled in Wood Dale and
later Bloomingdale. Mary went to work at one of her favorite stores, Marshall Fields. She loved
every minute of working there, especially the discount. Eventually she returned to AT&T and
worked for AMPS (advanced mobile phone service) on an experimental project developing
mobile phones. She retired from the phone company in 1994 when her first grandchild was
In 2001 Mary and Bill moved to Metamora Michigan to be closer to her daughter, son in law and
her grandchildren. Later she became a snow bird and traveled to Florida in November and
returned to Michigan in March. In 2018 she moved to Florida permanently. She was an active
member in the community, participating in a variety of activities some of her favorites were
bingo, and poker games.
Mary loved watching hallmark movies, game shows, and Christmas movies. She enjoyed doing
puzzles, playing scrabble and any card game. She was an avid reader and sports fan. She was
a lifelong White Sox fan. She enjoyed watching the games and going to the ballpark. She loved
to travel. A few favorite spots were: Ireland, Colorado, New Mexico, the Texas coast, and
Alaska. Mary spent many summers in Wauconda IL on Bangs Lake at the Mulvaney’s cottages
enjoying the lake, game nights, and great company of family and friends.