Originally Published: November 6, 2013 8:28 a.m.
The Mayer area lost a tremendous community supporter and dear friend this past weekend with the sudden death of former Mayer Area Meals on Wheels director Mary Yorgensen. She passed away Saturday at home from a heart attack, interim director Virginia Tallant said.
"The only good thing is, she went really quickly. She suffered so much (with the cancer and other health problems)," Tallant said. "Mary was our backbone - the matriarch of our organization. We're kind of limping along right now."
Yorgensen recently retired from MAMOW, where she had worked for about six years, to undergo cancer surgery, and was set to start chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She celebrated her 76th birthday on Oct. 11 with her MAMOW family.
"We gave her a card that said how Mary liked big parties and good food, so let's eat and drink like Mary," Tallant said. "She was the matriarch of this organization."
Bernie, her husband of 27 years, said Mary got involved in the community almost immediately after the couple moved in 2005 from Phoenix to Mayer. She had retired from the Maricopa County Recorder's office after 12 years, he said, and liked to keep busy.
"She always had to get into something," Bernie said, adding, "She kind of fell into Meals on Wheels."
"She was working part-time when Nancy Lange had to resign for health reasons," explained Joe Mish, who, as then-president for the Mayer Elders Club, hired Mary.
"She was doing a real great job. Mary was very committed to that program. The Center will sorely miss her."
"She was a very sweet lady. Everything about her was positive and I will miss her," Joe's wife, Brenda, said. Mary also coordinated bingo for the Mayer Elders Club, and helped with the food bank and many a community fundraiser.
"She pulled me into being bingo manager, too," Bernie said with a chuckle.
Between them, Bernie and Mary have seven children, 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren scattered around the country.
She donated her body to research and was cremated, Bernie said. Services are pending.