January 13, 1941 ~ March 9, 2020

Born in: Olean, NY
Resided in: Lilburn, GA

Mary Ellen DuVarney passed away surrounded by family and friends peacefully on Monday March 9, 2020. Mary Ellen was born on January 13, 1941 in Olean, New York. She attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and received her masters degree in social work at Boston College school of social work. Mary Ellen was a devoted daughter, wife and wonderful mother to three sons and one daughter and grandmother “Nana” to four grandchildren whom she loved dearly.
Mary Ellen was passionate about her profession of social work and dedicated time to helping others. She spent many years working for Catholic Social Services of Atlanta, The Jewish Tower and hospice care. Mary Ellen enjoyed her volunteer work with the Stephen Ministry through the Catholic Church and being an active member of the Carmelites. She loved deeply and cared tremendously for others.
Mary Ellen is proceeded in death by her parents Burdell Reynolds and Dorothy Reynolds, her son Michael DuVarney, and husband Raymond C. DuVarney. She is survived by her children Daniel DuVarney, Brian DuVarney and Kathryn D. King, grandchildren Noah DuVarney, Hudson DuVarney, Mary Kathryn King, and Caroline Carter King. Funeral mass will be held Saturday March 14th at 11:15am at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church, 5373 Wydella Road, Lilburn, Georgia 30047, with a reception immediately following. Internment will follow in Stone Mountain Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church or Friends of Music at Emory University at 404-727-6280 or 1-866-693-6679, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road Suite 210, Atlanta, Georgia 30322. Thank you family and friends for all of the love and support. We sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness and prayers.

Services

Memorial Mass: March 14, 2020 11:30 am - March 14, 2020 12:30 pm

St. Stephens the Martyr Catholic Church

Lilburn, GA


Interment: March 14, 2020 1:45 pm - March 14, 2020 2:15 pm

Stone Mountain Cemetery

Stone Mountain, GA 30086


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  1. Mary Ellen was wonderful support for her husband Ray and all of his involvement at Emory University over more than 40 years. Rest in peace, dear lady.
    Betsy

  2. Mary Ellen will aways be in my heart and soul as a true sister of God. She helped guide and help so many people. Peace in Heaven my friend.

  3. God is looking on his special sister as we morn her leaving. May perpetual light shine upon you and may you rest in peace.

  4. Mary Ellen always had a smile on her face and was a wonderful hostess. She was blessed to have devoted children. We are glad she is not suffering anymore. Rest in Peace. Bud and Jo Puckett, Smoke Rise, Georgia

  5. Eulogy for Mary Ellen DuVarney
    March 14, 2020

    For those of you who may not know me, I’m Dan, Mary Ellen’s eldest son. I thought I might share a few memories that illustrate the kind of person she was.

    Mary Ellen was a very selfless person who always put the needs of others ahead of her own. I remember her constantly doting on my father Ray, asking him if was hungry, and preparing whatever food he wanted while Ray relaxed watching television. She also did almost all the housework herself in addition to her job as a Social Worker. My dad definitely had it good. It was probably a miracle that he didn’t starve to death when mom was away on one of her spiritual retreats.

    In addition to raising four kids, when her mother Dorothy’s health declined, Mom moved her in to live with us. So, for most of my childhood, she cared for six people: four children, her husband, and her mother. She didn’t have much time for herself.

    Mom was also a very devout Catholic. I remember well the time we vacationed in Ireland, traveling through the rural areas along the western coast. Wherever we stopped to spend the night, the first order of business was always to find the nearest Catholic church so she could attend Mass the next morning. In her later years, whenever I visited, she was always busy during the day with arcane Church activities. I used to wonder if perhaps she was leading a double life as a secret agent for the Vatican.

    Mom loved animals, and animals loved her. During the last months of Ray’s life, she spent almost every waking moment at his bedside. The one exception was that she would always return home every day to walk her beloved dog, Bea. Whenever my mom was in bed, there would be a mysterious lump underneath the blanket next to her. That lump was invariably the spot where Bea was sleeping. When she was in hospice, her number one concern not about herself or her own needs. It was always that the bird feeders in the backyard be refilled every day, lest they run empty and the birds go hungry.

    I believe Mom loved everyone she ever met. Despite appearing rather shy and soft-spoken, she had the ability to reach out to others. Holiday dinners at the DuVarney’s were never just a family affair, there always lots of friends she had invited in attendance as well. When we were growing up, she welcomed other children into our home. Our house was always the place where kids would congregate after school. Over the years, she built an extended family of people she loved and cared about. Her extended family grew to the point where, when she started hospice care, so many of her friends wanted to visit that we had to carefully schedule everyone in order to avoid a mob scene. I remember musing to myself that perhaps we should hire a bouncer and set up a cordon with a velvet rope like she was a rock star.

    Mom was also very generous. She was not only generous with her time to family and friends, but she also supported many charities. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I can say that the number of thank-you calendars she has stockpiled is a little scary. Watching television at her house during the day is a challenge because the phone, which thanks to the Internet is routed through the TV, rings approximately every ten minutes with yet another charity soliciting additional donations.

    Mary Ellen did have a few quirks. I don’t think she ever threw away any mail. I guess you could say that she treasured her family, she treasured her friends, and she also treasured every bit of mail she received, because when you opened a drawer you were likely to find it stuffed with envelopes. She also had the ability to nap any time, at any place. I’m not sure she ever saw a movie in its entirety because she would always sleep through the middle part.

    She may have seemed vulnerable, but in reality, her spirit was tremendously strong. Her last year on Earth was tough. First, she had to watch her husband of fifty-six years suffer from a terrible illness and eventually die. Then she barely had any time to grieve over that loss before she herself was stricken with a terminal illness. But she soldiered on through all this pain and suffering with no complaints. I saw her in terrible pain at home, but when we spoke to her doctors, she would always insist that she was fine — at which point I had to interject myself into the conversation and demand that they prescribe her some pain killers.

    I never saw her feel sorry for herself — during the last year when she was constantly exhausted from caring for Ray, or during her last months when her body was being consumed by cancer. Even during this most difficult time, her thoughts were not about herself. Instead, her heart and mind remained focused on the people and animals she loved. I don’t think I know anyone else who has this kind of strength.

    Mom is gone now, and the world seems to me a darker place without her in it. My heart, and the hearts of those she loved, are heavy with sorrow. And the days ahead look dark and foreboding. But I know if mom were here, she’d tell us not to be afraid, for she spent her whole life showing us the path forward through the even the darkest of times. We just have to follow her example.

    Love one another.

    Care for one another.

    Cherish each other.

    I love you, mom.

  6. Eulogy for Mary Ellen DuVarney
    March 14, 2020

    For those of you who may not know me, I’m Dan, Mary Ellen’s eldest son. I thought I might share a few memories that illustrate the kind of person she was.
    Mary Ellen was a very selfless person who always put the needs of others ahead of her own. I remember her constantly doting on my father Ray, asking him if was hungry, and preparing whatever food he wanted while Ray relaxed watching television. She also did almost all the housework herself in addition to her job as a Social Worker. My dad definitely had it good. It was probably a miracle that he didn’t starve to death when mom was away on one of her spiritual retreats.
    In addition to raising four kids, when her mother Dorothy’s health declined, Mom moved her in to live with us. So, for most of my childhood, she cared for six people: four children, her husband, and her mother. She didn’t have much time for herself.
    Mom was also a very devout Catholic. I remember well the time we vacationed in Ireland, traveling through the rural areas along the western coast. Wherever we stopped to spend the night, the first order of business was always to find the nearest Catholic church so she could attend Mass the next morning. In her later years, whenever I visited, she was always busy during the day with arcane Church activities. I used to wonder if perhaps she was leading a double life as a secret agent for the Vatican.
    Mom loved animals, and animals loved her. During the last months of Ray’s life, she spent almost every waking moment at his bedside. The one exception was that she would always return home every day to walk her beloved dog, Bea. Whenever my mom was in bed, there would be a mysterious lump underneath the blanket next to her. That lump was invariably the spot where Bea was sleeping. When she was in hospice, her number one concern not about herself or her own needs. It was always that the bird feeders in the backyard be refilled every day, lest they run empty and the birds go hungry.
    I believe Mom loved everyone she ever met. Despite appearing rather shy and soft-spoken, she had the ability to reach out to others. Holiday dinners at the DuVarney’s were never just a family affair, there always lots of friends she had invited in attendance as well. When we were growing up, she welcomed other children into our home. Our house was always the place where kids would congregate after school. Over the years, she built an extended family of people she loved and cared about. Her extended family grew to the point where, when she started hospice care, so many of her friends wanted to visit that we had to carefully schedule everyone in order to avoid a mob scene. I remember musing to myself that perhaps we should hire a bouncer and set up a cordon with a velvet rope like she was a rock star.
    Mom was also very generous. She was not only generous with her time to family and friends, but she also supported many charities. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I can say that the number of thank-you calendars she has stockpiled is a little scary. Watching television at her house during the day is a challenge because the phone, which thanks to the Internet is routed through the TV, rings approximately every ten minutes with yet another charity soliciting additional donations.
    Mom did have a few quirks. I don’t think she ever threw away any mail. I guess you could say that she treasured her family, she treasured her friends, and she also treasured every bit of mail she received, because when you opened a drawer you were likely to find it stuffed with envelopes. She also had the ability to nap any time, at any place. I’m not sure she ever saw a movie in its entirety because she would always sleep through the middle part.
    She may have seemed vulnerable, but in reality, her spirit was tremendously strong. Her last year on Earth was tough. First, she had to watch her husband of fifty-six years suffer from a terrible illness and eventually die. Then she barely had any time to grieve over that loss before she herself was stricken with a terminal illness. But she soldiered on through all this pain and suffering with no complaints. I saw her in terrible pain at home, but when we spoke to her doctors, she would always insist that she was fine — at which point I had to interject myself into the conversation and demand that they prescribe her some pain killers.
    I never saw her feel sorry for herself — during the last year when she was constantly exhausted from caring for Ray, or during her last months when her body was being consumed by cancer. Even during this most difficult time, her thoughts were not about herself. Instead, her heart and mind remained focused on the people and animals she loved. I don’t think I know anyone else who has this kind of strength.
    Mom is gone now, and the world seems to me a darker place without her in it. My heart, and the hearts of those she loved, are heavy with sorrow. And the days ahead look dark and foreboding. But I know if mom were here, she’d tell us not to be afraid, for she spent her whole life showing us the path forward through the even the darkest of times. We just have to follow her example.
    Love one another.
    Care for one another.
    Cherish each other.
    I love you, mom.

  7. Thank you, Dan, for your eulogy. It brought to mind her humor. As related to me by her husband, Ray – He walked into the kitchen after work, and there was a chocolate cake sitting on the kitchen counter with a large wedge cut out of it (probably by Michael!). Ray looked at it, Mary Ellen looked at him, and, deadpan, stated, “It’s not very good.”

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