Mary Matilda Zembal, 93, our gentle spirit, passed away Sunday, October 21, 2012, at her home. Born in Chicago, Illinois on November 10, 1918, to John and Anna Eichberger, she was one of 8 children.
Mary met her future husband, Joseph Michael Zembal at a Catholic Singles Convention in Chicago. They married in Chicago on November 29, 1942, prior to Joe serving overseas in World War II. After the war, they moved to Aberdeen, where she looked forward to raising a family. They were happily married for 65 years, until Joe passed away December 18, 2007. They shared their strong Catholic faith and love of family and gardening.
Mary was a deep believer in her faith, and volunteered her time as a church custodian, as well as washing & ironing the linens for St. Peter & Paul Church. She was an active member of Sts. Peter & Paul, and St. Mary’s Catholic Churches.
Next in line after her faith was her family. She loved being a mother and homemaker and instilled in her children the importance of being kind to others and her strong Christian faith. She loved to cook and sew. She was a good cook - using old recipes passed down from her mother, and enjoying new ones from family and friends. She enjoyed sewing many of her own, and her family’s clothes. She was the foundation of the home, providing a safe nest for her family and visitors. Fresh apple and berry pies would always be on hand to welcome family and friends.
She was truly a giver of her time and friendship. She would help older neighbors by taking them to doctor’s appointments or shopping. She loved card games, especially pinochle.
Gardening was one of her pastimes. Although she had a vegetable garden, her pride and joy was her flower gardens. And through the years, she expanded the garden out surrounding the house in a circle of color. You could find her occasionally selling her plants for a quarter or more, but she was happy to give them away to those who had no money. Her garden was her passion, her exercise and her life. Well into her 80’s, Mary would spend hours in her garden. Digging andy turning over dirt was her simple pleasure.
After her youngest turned 8, she decided she still wanted to parent, and she and her husband became interim foster parents for almost 25 years to more than 200 children, ages 0-6. She welcomed every new child, whether they were staying for 1 night or 2 years. Mom loved children, especially babies, and cared for each child as if they were her own.
She also enjoyed her trips to the beach clam digging, visits to her children’s homes, the occasional visit back to the midwest to visit her siblings, and vacations to visit family in Oregon. After her husband passed, she was blessed to have her son Joe come live with her, and her faithful companion Poody, her little black dog.
Mary is survived by her children, Mary Ann (Charles) Lundberg of Olympia, Rosemarie (Frank) Majeski of Cosmopolis, Joseph Zembal of Aberdeen, Daniel (Robbin) Zembal of Aberdeen, Elizabeth (Kelly) Jorgenson of Yelm, and Frances (Dan) Zembal of Kenmore. She has 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren with a new one on the way.
In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by three sisters, Anna Popovich, Rose Popovich and Rae Wolf; and four brothers, Bill, Tony, John and Frank Eichberger.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, October 27, 2012, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Aberdeen.
Mary’s favorite memorials are Feed the Hungry Program, 306 E. 3rd St, Aberdeen, WA 98520; and the Union Gospel Mission, 405 E. Heron, Aberdeen.
Please visit and sign the online tribute to Mary at www.whitesidefamilymortuaries.com
Arrangements are entrusted to Whiteside Mortuary in Aberdeen.