Mary McAvoy, 88
Mary McAvoy, age 88 of Alta Vista, died Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at her home surrounded by her family.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Alta Vista with the Rev. Jerry Kopacek celebrating the Mass.
Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Alta Vista with Corey McAvoy, Kyle McAvoy, Kurt McAvoy, Chris White, Brian Mahoney, Brock Smith serving as pallbearers.
Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Elma where there will be a 3:30 Rosary and Scripture Service. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass on Friday at the church.
Online condolences for the McAvoy family may be left at www.hugebackfuneralhome.com.
Mary McAvoy, a lifelong resident of Alta Vista, passed away peacefully in her home with her children at her side on Sept. 22, 2023. Born on October 12, 1934, the daughter of Arthur and Rosemary (Sullivan) Gebel, in the same town she loved and called home, Mary lived a fulfilling life marked by love, service and faith.
Mary received her education at St. Williams Catholic School in Alta Vista, where she was active in the school softball team and helped on the family farm. She continued her education at Iowa State Teachers College, earning her teaching professional certificate in 1954.
Around this time she met the love of her life, Joseph McAvoy. They married on August 10, 1957, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Alta Vista. Their union was blessed with three children — Patrick, Ann, and Sue. The couple cherished their life in Alta Vista, enjoying the “Friendly Town” and the benefits that came with raising a family in a small town.
Mary had a long and fulfilling career as a teacher. She started in Greene from 1954 to 1957 before moving on to teach in Elma from 1957 to 1996. Known for her kind heart and nurturing ways, Mary was adored by students and faculty alike. She had a gift for helping young children become the best versions of themselves, and her impact on their lives will long be remembered.
In her free time, Mary and Joe enjoyed many activities together. They loved dancing to big band music at the Inwood in Spillville, fishing, and golfing. They also loved to travel and visited many beautiful destinations around the country.
After Joe’s passing in 2006, Mary found joy in her local card group, playing Euchre daily.
However, family remained paramount in Mary’s life. She loved it when everyone gathered at her house, especially during the holidays. Her face would always light up anytime the grandchildren or great-grandchildren would stop by to see her.
Mary was a woman of many admirable qualities. She was thoughtful, always considering the needs and feelings of others before her own. She was loving, with a heart that knew no bounds when it came to her family and the students she taught. And she was faith-filled, her belief in God and daily prayer guiding her throughout her life.
Mary is survived by her three children, Patrick (Jill) McAvoy of Denver, Ann (John) White of Kansas City, Missouri, and Sue Mahoney of Alta Vista; her beloved grandchildren, Corey (Chelsie) McAvoy, Miranda (Brock) Smith, Kyle McAvoy, Becky Mahoney, Chris (Sarah) White, Kurt (Jamie) McAvoy, and Brian Mahoney; her adored great-grandchildren, Owen, Aidan, Liam, and Declan Smith, Raelynn Schuchhardt, Adrian and Brody McAvoy, and Tucker White; and her two brothers, Steve Gebel of Alta Vista, and Den (Terri) Gebel of Cedar Falls.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Joseph McAvoy in 2006; and her brothers, Bob Gebel, Dick (Joan) Gebel, and Gary Gebel.
Mary McAvoy’s life was a testament to the power of love, the importance of family and the strength of faith. She will be deeply missed, but her legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those she touched.