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Born: Apr 18, 1934

Date of Passing: Jun 23, 2021

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April 18, 1934 – June 23, 2021

It is with immeasurable sadness that we share with you the news that on June 23, 2021, after a lengthy and recently intensified battle with COPD, with her children by her side, Mary left this life.
Born in 1934 Mary was the youngest of the four children born to Peter and Jean Olchowecki. She grew up in Transcona before meeting the love of her life, her husband Walter Billey whom she married in July, 1950. Together they had three children and built their family by taking in Walter's brother for a time and then her parents who resided with them both for many years. It was during this time that Mary developed a strong desire to make sure that the house they shared was always bustling with activity and was always the most welcoming home to friends and family. Over the years she formed endless traditions that will remain in our fondest of memories - whether it was a holiday gathering, a friendly game night of family poker, or an all-night canasta tournament - her warmth, enthusiasm and love was always on display. They enjoyed 25 years of marriage until Walter's passing in September 1975.
At that time, Mary devoted her life's focus to her family as nothing gave her more joy and satisfaction than spending time with her children, grandchildren and more recently, her eight great-grandchildren which she adored and cherished. The love and pride she held in heart for her family was always obvious and on display.
In addition to being a supermom and wife, Mary wore many different hats over the years; her resume included everything from holding a position as a clerk in Eaton's catalogue service, being the manager of a small restaurant in Winnipeg's North End, as well as the pleasant clerk in the corner store familiarly known as Garden City Food Market. Widowed at the young age of 41, Mary settled into a career and eventually retired from Medis (McKesson) in the mid 1990s, after almost 20 years of service. At this point, she enhanced her passions, spending more time with family, cooking and hosting large dinners with friends and family. Sundays were always her favourite day and special to her as she spent the entire week planning on what to cook for dinner as her door was always open to her children and grandchildren, extended family or friends who often arrived with appetites to please her.
Mary embraced a lifelong hobby of playing bingo which became her soul source of socializing and entertainment. She spent many hours at the Buffalo Bingo Hall and, in her healthier and stronger days - if not at home watching her favourite game shows - more of her time at the McPhillips Station Casino playing bingo, giving the slots a whirl and enjoying her McDonald's lunches where she reconnected with old friends and made many new friends. She was a passionate Winnipeg Jets' fan who knew all the players and their stats and was always fuelled by the call of the game with the excitement Dennis Beyak induced into each one she watched.
Mary was predeceased by her husband Walter, son Glenn, great-granddaughter Annabelle, her parents, Peter and Jean Olchowecki, her sister Katherine and two brothers, Walter and William (Bill). She leaves to mourn her passing her son Gary and daughter Donna. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law Jenny, grandchildren, Pamela, Ryan, Christopher, and her precious great-grandchildren, Tate and Bennett, Sawyer, Deklan, Hudson and Coen, Barrett and Theodore (Teddy).
The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the Palliative Care Home team for keeping Mom comfortable at home over the past few months. When that was no longer possible, the transition to Riverview Health Centre gave her care second to none and was a place she immediately grew fond of. There truly are no words to express our gratitude and respect to the entire team and staff of the Palliative Care Unit 3E who made her final days the best they could be. A very special thanks to nurses Bobby and Gerri and to Dr. Marleau who took time out of every day to spend time with us and make us feel like they cared for us as much as for Mom. To the numerous health care aides that tended to Mom's every need with such sincerity and allowed her to maintain her dignity, know that your efforts are not unnoticed. The family would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to a special lady - Grace Fobel - for your time and assistance in helping to ensure Mom's needs were always addressed. To all our friends and family, thank you for your support during these difficult days.
Due to Covid restrictions, a small, private graveside service will take place with Glen Eden Funeral Home overseeing the arrangements. To sign a guestbook or share a memory, please visit:
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Mary's honour to Riverview Health Centre, Palliative Care Unit 3E, or to any rescue or animal shelter of your choice.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jun 26, 2021

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • What an incredible tribute! I have so many good memories of when we got together with Auntie Mary and Uncle Walter and all the "cousins". Condolences to all of the family. - Posted by: Dean, Kelly, and Kyle B. (Great Nephew) on: Jul 25, 2021

  • A lovely obituary for my lovely gracious Aunty Mary (Aunty Mehwie as the children called her). aka “my second Mom”. When Robert was transferred to Winnipeg, Aunty Mary opened her ❤️ and home to us until we found our rental residences. I considered Aunty Mary a friend as well. We played “games” and tried to get together with family and the Moroz’s occasionally for our traditional Rummoli and/or gambling “Dealer’s Choice” card game which at times ended at the wee hours of the morning. Such fun! It has been a pleasure knowing you Aunty “Mehwie”; please remember because you have left us physically, you will always remain in our 💕 Enjoy Heavens Casino! Love you always. - Posted by: Marie Mulloy (Niece) on: Jun 29, 2021

  • A incredible obituary for an incredible lady who was very devoted to her family, relatives and friends. Mary came into my life when I married her nephew, Her laugh was infectious to match her sense of humor. She was truly a welcoming hostess that made you feel special. Holiday dinners were sumptious with a spread that was truly delicious. Along with Walter there were many family get togethers that felt like a party always with a game of Hearts, Hola and Canasta. May the precious memories of this awesome mother, grandmother, great grandmother balance the 'hole in the soul' that the family feels at this difficult time. Wanda Urschatz - Posted by: Wanda Urschatz (Berezanski) (friend) on: Jun 27, 2021

  • Sincere condolences Shelley, Candace and Danielle Glowa - Posted by: Shelley (In law) on: Jun 26, 2021

  • Our deepest condolences go out to Gary, Donna, Jenny and family on Aunt Mary’s passing. We will always remember those fun, family gatherings, followed by card games that took place so many years ago. Oh how Aunt Mary loved playing canasta! May she Rest In Peace! George & Judy Glowa - Posted by: George Glowa (Nephew ) on: Jun 26, 2021

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