The family of Mary Reif Blackburn Cruse of Galena, Ohio is saddened to announce her passing on Friday, September 24, 2021 at the age of 76.
Mary was born on May 21, 1945 in Columbus, Ohio and lived in Westerville before settling with her husband Bill in his childhood home in Galena, where they raised their two daughters.
Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Andrew Reif Blackburn (1973) and Anne Elizabeth Reese Blackburn (2003) of Westerville, Ohio, and her brother Charles Lee (Chuck) Blackburn (2009) of Lexington, Kentucky and Galena, OH.
After graduating from Westerville High School in 1963, Mary attended Kent State University which led her into careers of retail sales, sales management and ultimately Operations Assistant in construction project management. In the late 70’s, as a member of the Westerville Uptown Merchants Association, Mary was an essential part in starting the annual event “Midnight Madness”. She was also an active member of various civic associations including being a founding member of the Harlem Township Civic Association. As a Sunday School Teacher at New Hope Church in Galena, Mary is remembered by many as having changed their lives. Additionally, she served on many church committees including the Pastor Parish Committee.
Mary was known as a tireless contributor to the success of multiple employers with the most recent being Corna Kokosing where she served for 20 plus years in various project management assistant positions, was affectionately known as “work mom” by many of the company’s diverse employees and was an ambassador for the company’s many educational and religious building projects.
Mary was best known for her love of family and her many deep and meaningful relationships. She will be well remembered for her unconditional commitment to supporting and caring for all those within her sphere of influence when in need, struggling with health, financial, emotional and/or relationship issues. In fact, all family members and anyone befriended by Mary benefited greatly as a result of her generosity, support and care regardless of need, ideology, or social standing. Many of her close friends’ children referred to her as “Aunt Mary” as her wisdom, counseling, and storytelling were a highlight during their formative years.
The gracious hostess she was, Mary made every birthday and holiday special for her family and friends. It was common to pass by the property to find a sea of cars as she hosted multiple backyard weddings, class reunions, company work functions, Halloween parties and pig roasts.
Mary, as an avid fan, never missed a meet, race or game as she followed her daughters in their many sporting activities throughout their childhood and adult lives. She continued that passion with her grandchildren, as she championed their sporting endeavors as well. She has been their greatest life cheerleader.
Mary’s life on earth may be finished, but her wisdom and loving care will live on forever by everyone touched by her. She will never be forgotten because of the life she lived and how she lived it selflessly.
Mary will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 48 years, William E. (Bill) Cruse; daughters Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Beaulieu (Doug) and Amanda Cruse Kerns (Ben); grandchildren Mitchell Beaulieu and Madison Beaulieu; Sister Elizabeth Anne (Betsy) Kintz (Marsha Adkins) and brother James H. (Jim) Blackburn; sister-in-law Susan Pavell (Susie) Blackburn and brother-in-law Larry Cruse and brother-in-law Jim Cruse, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and many wonderful friends.
Calling hours for Mary will be held 5:00 – 7:00 PM, on Friday, October 8th, at Harlem Road United Methodist Church located at 5520 Harlem Rd. Galena, OH 43021. A Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, October 9th at 10:30 AM and will also be held at Harlem Road United Methodist Church. We ask that flowers be sent to the church rather than the funeral home. The family will receive friends and family one hour prior to the service. A Graveside Service will follow at Fancher Road Cemetery in Galena, Ohio. Friends and family are welcome for fellowship and refreshments following the Graveside Service at the home of Amanda and Ben Kerns.
Memorial Donations may be made in Mary’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (800-805-5856) (https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html?frequency_selected=2&sc_icid=mem-lp-donate-bttn-to)
The family wishes to send a special thank you to nurse Sam and aide Bonita at Hospice of Central Ohio for their care and compassion. Donations may be made as a tribute gift in Mary’s honor. https://www.hospiceofcentralohio.org/donate/donate-now/