Mary F. (Gallagher) Nowak


Mary Frances (née Gallagher) Nowak, 91, passed away peacefully on February 26, 2021, in Bridgewater, NJ, with family by her side. She was born June 23, 1929 in Syracuse, NY, the first daughter of Irish born parents, Michael and Beatrice Gallagher. Mary was united in Holy Matrimony to Donald J. Nowak on October 15, 1955, at St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse, NY. They were married for 52 years until his passing on December 11, 2007.

Like so many of Americas’ Greatest Generation, Mary’s life was a seamless tapestry weaving family, faith, service, and the joy of a life fully lived.

An Air Force family, Mary and Don traveled the country and the world. By the time they established their family’s permanent homestead in Rome, they had eight children. A magician in the kitchen, Mary’s excellent cooking and baking skills were merely a means to an end: cherished family time together over dinner, with unexpected guests always a welcome.

Mary believed in the importance of education and encouraged her children to graduate college, inspiring drive, diligence, and perseverance in each of them. Equally so, Mary’s children were enormously proud when she herself went back and earned an accounting degree of her own. While she loved music, she devoured books with a passion. Her mid-life success with academe was a surprise to no one.

A devout Catholic, Mary carried her faith with a quiet devotion. No matter the adversity, the Communion of Saints - St. Anthony was a favorite - was there for intercession on her behalf. Even at the loss of her son David, she thanked God for His gift of 47 years.

Faith in action, both ecclesiastical and non-sectarian, was yet another driving force in Mary’s busy life. Never one to back away when needed, she was an avid volunteer for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Rome Twigs (past president and Dogwood chapter member), and endless fundraisers for the Catholic schools. She was a member of the Wednesday Morning Club, Rome Art and Community Center, and Rome Investment Club.

Mary is survived by her loving family, daughter, Kathleen O’Connor (Stephen) of Bethlehem Township, NJ, and six sons, Col (ret) Michael Nowak, PhD (Charlotte) of Bellbrook, OH, Mark Nowak, DVM of Troy, NY, Paul Nowak (Margaret) of Hillsborough, NJ, Christopher Nowak, Esq. (Maureen) of Chester, NJ, Sgt. John Nowak (Tara) of Canastota, NY, and Sean Nowak (Susan) of Charlotte, NC; loving grandchildren, Nathan, Joshua, Aidan, Declan, Maeve, Cian, Eilís, Tiarnan, McKenzie, Trisdan, Jaydn, Michael and Elizabeth Nowak; and dear step-grandchildren Andre (Indira) Rondeau, Joshua and Jillian Whaley, and Zac Fuller; and great-grandchildren Emilie and Sophie Rondeau. In addition to her husband Don, Mary was predeceased by her son, David Nowak, and sister, Elizabeth Feldmeth.

Mary was blessed with good friends and caring neighbors. The family would like to thank Joan Herr, Bridget Boyer, Diane and Steve Schink, Karina, Kevin and Connor Dunn, and Kelly Stevens for their many expressions of love, concern, and kindness shown to Mary, especially these last few years. Words cannot convey our deep appreciation to Sunrise of Bridgewater and Grace Hospice. Mary’s family was inspired by the wonderful staff - Cindy Merkin, Suzanne Knoeller, Ashlee Traynor and her devoted team of angels - whose gentle and loving care provided our mother in her final days.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, March 5, at 11 a.m., at St. Paul’s Church, 1807 Bedford Street. Interment will follow at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Relatives and friends may call at the Barry Funeral Home, 807 W. Chestnut Street, on Thursday from 4-6 p.m. Those attending are required to have a facial covering and only a limited number of people will be allowed in at a time.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to St. Paul’s Memorial Fund, 1807 Bedford Street, Rome, NY 13440 and/or the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110-4799.

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