Mary Theresa Ojala, 100, of Rutland, died peacefully Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at her home, surrounded by family, following a recent decline in her health.
Mary Ojala was born Nov. 22, 1920, in Bayonne, New Jersey, to the late James and Francis Coyle O’Donnell.
She was a war bride, marrying the love of her life, Carl Ojala, on Oct. 15, 1943, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Her first job was running the betting book around the neighborhood in Jersey and she got paid in candy. She worked at the Proctor Hospital and Beverly Manor nursing home, where Viva Whitney was an influential mentor.
In retirement, she volunteered with Rutland Hospice and the American Red Cross, where she was named the longest-serving volunteer in the Northern New England Region.
She loved to travel and had grand stories from trips to Ireland, Spain and Portugal. She started golfing at the age of 70 and played her last nine holes this September in a family golf tournament. She would want everyone to know that she parred the seventh hole at Proctor Pittsford Country Club this summer at the age of 99.
Ojala had a greeting card for everyone for every occasion and always signed her family cards as “Fortunate Mother” or “Fortunate Grammy.” She especially liked family trips to Florida and beating her grandchildren in card games. She loved her community at The Maples, which was full of kind staff and many dear friends and card players.
She is survived by her children, Carla Gallus (Don), David Ojala, Margaret Ojala, Gayla Thomas (John), Fran Ojala (Mary), Carl Ojala II (Jeanne), Suzy Candon (Kevin) and John Ojala (Pam). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Aili Blank (Brian), Susannah Loffredo (Adam), Sarah Thomas, Abbey Thomas, Greta Calabrese (Mike), Jennifer Marini (Anthony), Carl Ojala III, Lucas Ojala (Pam), Hannah Ojala, Christie Ojala, Kate Candon, Jackie Ojala, Joe Candon and Nick Ojala; and her great-grandchildren: Harper Blank, Sam, Hank and Vinny Loffredo, Tilly Calabrese and Anthony Marini. She had a special relationship with each of her children and grandchildren, and she loved her children’s spouses as her own.
She was predeceased by her husband, Carl; brother Daniel O’Donnell, sister Grace O’Donnell; great-granddaughter Eva Blank; and beloved dog Bing.
Her family thanks all the people who provided loving and compassionate care in her final days.
The family especially wishes to thank Dr. Peter Hogenkamp and his staff; the team at Rutland Regional Medical Center, especially the fifth-floor nursing staff; Nicole Moran and her Hospice and CarePlus teams at VNA; Gina Carlstrom and Ada Pezzetti; and Father Steven Marchand. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ the King Church.
Mary Ojala’s life can also be honored through the gift of life, by donating blood to the American Red Cross.
The family also wishes to thank the hundreds of people who sent kind cards for her 100th birthday.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at a later date when family can gather. Arrangements are under the direction of Clifford Funeral Home in Rutland.