Mary Elizabeth Roca

Mary Elizabeth Roca


          Brewster, Massachusetts—Mary Elizabeth Roca, 75, left us on October 16, 2017, with her family by her side at Wingate Brewster Nursing Home, after living courageously for one year with lung cancer.


          Mary was born September 15, 1942, in Aurora, Illinois to Benjamin Franklin and Katherine Thelma Shirer. She graduated from Batavia High School in not four but three years, as salutatorian, and attended North Central College, also graduating summa cum laude in three years. There she co-majored in Spanish and Political Science, and met her husband of 53 years, Ruben Alejandro Roca. After graduation, she taught in both Illinois and Virginia.


          Mary and Ruben moved to Washington, D.C., Falls Church, Virginia, and finally Columbia, Maryland, where they resided for 32 years. There Mary took the role of dedicated mother, homemaker, and wife. She was president of the PTA and Boosters clubs throughout her children’s school careers, faithfully attended their games and concerts, and volunteered in their schools. She hosted dinners, holidays and parties, often bringing family and friends together at her table in Columbia, or in Chatham, where she spent summers with her family. In 2004, she retired to Cape Cod, and Longboat Key, Florida, where Mary spent winters living next to her sister and best friend, Katherine J. Nothacker.


          Mary was a devoted and loving mother. She was very proud of her family and was excited to become a “Grammy” to her five grandchildren. She was a loyal Redskins fan, an avid Jeopardy! viewer, crossworder, and an Amazon aficionado. She will be remembered for her no-nonsense manner and her often irreverent sense of humor. Mary loved to travel, and she and Ruben traveled the world; she especially enjoyed her trips on the Queen Mary & Queen Victoria.


          Mary was the beloved wife of Ruben A. Roca; devoted mother of R. Alexander Roca, Katherine E. Roca, and Kristen R. Labbate; devoted mother-in-law to Susan H. Roca, Scott R. Springthorpe, and Dyelry G. Labbate; loving “Grammy” to Celia C. Roca, Anna R. Springthorpe, Reese C. Roca, Scott R. Spgringthorpe, and Noah A. Labbate; loving sister to Katherine J. Nothacker and Bruce E. Shirer; loving godmother to no fewer than fifteen, and “aunt” to a cast of thousands.


          Family and friends will gather at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 57 Highland Ave., in Chatham, Massachusetts at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 3, 2017, followed by a reception at the Chatham Beach & Tennis Club immediately following the service. A private burial for immediate family will take place the following day.


          In lieu of flowers, donations may be to: WeCan, 783 Route 28, Harwich Port, Massachusetts 02646, or Little Sister of the Poor, St. Martin’s Home, 601 Maiden Choice Lane, Baltimore, Maryland 21228-3630,


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