Mary was born in Omaha, Nebraska on November 23, 1960 to Thomas Logan Kramer and Zota Lorene (McCart) Kramer. She was the third born and is survived by six remaining brothers and sisters: Randall Kramer of Kansas City, Missouri; Debra Robb of Columbia, Missouri; Steven Kramer of Medicine Lodge, Kansas; Cindy Soule of Kansas City, Missouri; Thomas Kramer of Sevierville, Tennessee and Bradley Kramer of Atchison, Missouri. She is also survived by her mother, Zota, of Kansas City, Missouri; her father passed away in 1976.
Mary attended college in Iowa and studied American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting. She moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1983 to begin what turned into a long and cherished career as an interpreter for the hearing impaired. She worked at Boston's Freedom Trail Clinic in the Deaf Outpatient Clinic from
1987 - 1989. In addition to her freelance interpreting, Mary was a valued colleague at the Deaf Community Center in Framingham, Massachusetts and most recently for the Archdiocese of Boston, ministering and serving the deaf senior citizens through the Deaf Apostolate. Mary was also known as an accomplished seamstress and had crafted many beautiful wedding dresses and bridesmaid's gowns.
Early on, Mary found a church home to nourish her strong Christian faith at Newton Presbyterian Church on Newton Corner and the first person to greet her there turned out to be the love of her life, Galen Bergh Brooks, also of Newton, Massachusetts. They married on October 3, 1987. Their daughter, Hannah Elizabeth was born in 1989 and their son, Tyler Austin was born in 1991. She and Galen shared their hearts and home with Stephen McTigue, age 40, originally of Worcester, Massachusetts beginning in 2003. Where there were once four, now there was a family of five.
Mary had many gifts; she was a storyteller and painted pictures with her words giving all who listened a chance to laugh. Mary could put on a tea party like no one else. She found beauty, tenderness and the hand of God where most others struggle to see anything good. She loved all things Christmas and delighted in creating a lovely home with beautiful, originally designed crafts. Crafting was a cornerstone of her ministry to the deaf senior citizens, who, among many other women (friends and neighbors) spent sweet moments with tea, goodies and Mary's kind and generous guidance to create something of beauty to take home.
Chief among her greatest accomplishments, in her own words, was - "Being blessed to be a mother. I have always been in awe that God gifted me with my beloved Hannah and Tyler. I was also blessed beyond measure to be chosen as godmother to Larnel Jones, Autumn Guzzi, Ryan Morrissey, Sydney Morrissey and Megan Morrissey. God also placed Stephen McTigue in my life. He is like a second son and I love him deeply. God's grace has been so profound."
Mary's faith journey led her to become confirmed as a Catholic in 2009. The rosary and the ministries of Father Shawn Carey and Father Jeremy St. Martin were mainstays in these last years. St. John's parish in Hopkinton was her most recent church home.
Mary received the news of her serious illness in September 2010 with grace and accepted the call to go on the hard and dubious journey toward restoration of her health. She faced each chapter of that difficult journey with grace and eyes wide open. Despite the doors to restoration closing, she trusted that her Great Physician was ultimately in charge of her care and guiding her doctors, nurses and many health care providers along the path at the Brigham & Women's Hospital, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the VNA CareNetwork & Hospice. Restoration and peace are hers at last.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be gratefully appreciated if sent to support the Senior Deaf Wellness Program of the Archdiocese of Boston or the World Youth Day or Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Cher Allen's thoughts of Mary:
Mary & I first met as part of a group of interpreters who interpreted the Mass on Sundays. We were in that "bubble" in the corner of your TV screen.
I am humbled that Mary asked me to say a few words at this time, here on this day and I hope I can do so without becoming as Mary would say "a total blithering idiot."
Mary was the most loving... giving... spiritual... creative... faith-filled... joyful-in-the-face-of-adversity person I have ever met.
Her faith was solid like a rock. It doesn't mean that she never questioned what was happening or that she was unafraid. But Mary seemed to know & turn time & time again to the Spiritual. "whether it be in the storm or along a dusty road, or over the places of stones, or in a cool glade or the meadow, or by the waters of comfort, in each experience there will be a place of refuge." Even when confronted with hard times, pain, & suffering in her life- she found blessings in every experience.
Mary had such a creative mind! I received an email form a mutual friend (Dotty).She spoke about how Mary had made her beautiful wedding dress & that she would never forget her. With the Deaf Senior Wellness program, she led many arts & craft sessions. What she could do with a block of glass or material or paint was amazing! Her imagination & enthusiasm were infectious and we learned that there is a spark of that in each of us. Who can forget her Bridal Show & Tea Party fundraisers? And what mother do you know has the imagination to put on a formal tea party with gowns & costumes for her daughter's 16th birthday with friends- and have her son & husband enthusiastically join in?
This brings me to Mary's loving & giving nature. Mary's love for Galen, Tyler & Hannah was so obvious in the way she spoke of them. Her stories and pictures of her with Stephen, her siblings, family and friends demonstrate a woman who knows when you give love you get it back a hundredfold.
Whether we have been in or part of her life for a short or long time, you & I have all had the privilege of being a recipient of Mary's love & experienced her contagious joy of life.
She showed us not how to die of cancer but how to live with cancer & embrace dying. What spiritual truths she has taught us about that passage we all will experience some day. She is in each of our hearts & that is something we have in common, can recognize & share when we meet each other again.
Sometimes I'm in a place where I need to open the Bible & just see what comes up-last night, this is what I opened to..Paul wrote this 2 thousand years ago. This is so Mary.
Dear brothers & sisters. I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends....Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember the Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close (this letter.) Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you......
A friend recently said to me, "Right now your heart is heavy but that is because it is so full."
Hugs to you, Sweet Girl. We will miss you.