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Obituary: Mary Ann D. Gilbert

November 20, 1934 – April 7, 2024

Mary Ann D. GilbertMary Ann Gilbert, nee Strayer, age 89, of Dyer, IN, passed away Sunday, April 7, 2024. Beloved wife of the late Glenn Austin Gilbert Sr. Loving mother of the late James Gilbert, Ann Gilbert, Diane (Arturo Sanchez) Gilbert, John (Judith) Gilbert, and Glenn (Sheena) Gilbert Jr. Proud grandmother of Anngelique (Timothy) Gilbert-Ciaverella, Claire (Ben Trepp) Gilbert, Madeline (Jonathan) Klecker, Lila Cruickshank Lahola, Blair Lahola, Caroline Lahola, Corey Viehdeffer, Danielle Gilbert, John Bilinski, John Glenn Gilbert Jr., Christina Gilbert, the late James Gilbert, Jessica (Daron) Lamb, Megan (Mark) Levin, and Aiden Gilbert; great-grandmother of Cynthia Ciaverella, Timothy Ciaverella Jr., Teddy Trepp, Iris Klecker, Asher Klecker, James Gilbert Jr., Sophia Gilbert, Amelia Rose Gilbert, John Bilinski Jr., Jaxon Gilbert, John Glenn Gilbert III, Lily Partridge, Leilani Lamb, Peyton Lamb, and Daron Lamb Jr.; great-great-grandmother of Aubrey McKinney and AJ McKinney. Dear sister of the late Elizabeth Schiller. Preceded in death by her parents James and Isabelle Strayer.

Mary Ann Dorothy Esther Emma (nee Strayer) Gilbert was a remarkable woman. Born on her grandparents farm in Yorkville, IL, Mary Ann grew up in York, PA, where she later met her husband Glenn Austin Gilbert (Sr., deceased). As a child, Mary Ann was an excellent student, and enjoyed painting and other crafts. Her parents relocated to Chicago, IL, where she finished out her education. Smitten by the love bug, Glenn followed and they were later married in Chicago. Mary Ann bore six children, one (Ivy) which died in childbirth. Fiercely protective of her children, she was a force to be reckoned with, and was instrumental in changing the dress code rules for public school which required that girls wear dresses even in sub-zero weather. Later, she took on the school bus system, as her deaf son was spending hours riding around before and after school, due to disorganized routes. They offered her a job and she later organized a strike to fight for safer vehicles for the children to travel in. Mary Ann then went on to work at Oak Forest Hospital, where every patient had a terminal diagnosis. Although her dream had always been to be a nurse, the emotional impact she experienced when a patient passed was too difficult. She ended up in the Admitting Department, where she excelled due to her ability to analyze and remember large amounts of information, ensuring that patients were directed to the proper care and resources.

Mary Ann led a rich family life. She was a fabulous cook and organizer, and enjoyed hosting many parties. She always remembered everyone’s birthday and what they liked, and we all looked forward to her baking which rivaled that of any fancy bakery. Her home was the center of family gatherings for many many years. Mary Ann and Glenn bought a cottage on Shafer Lake in Indiana, and for years happy family weekends were spent boating and enjoying the Indiana Beach Amusement Park. Later, they bought their dream home in Dyer, IN with lots of space to accommodate the large family gatherings that Mary Ann loved so much to host. After Glenn Sr. passed in 2022, Mary Ann lived more quietly. They had 69 years together and she missed her partner and true love. But being a strong woman, she continued to manage her affairs and serve as the family matriarch. Mary Ann always said she had big shoulders, and always had a kind ear and a warm heart for her loved ones when troubles arose. Her character was strong, but she always had a soft spot for the underdog. She was a deep, intelligent and thoughtful person, not afraid to confront frailties or fears. Her spiritual beliefs provided her with a solid and abiding foundation, that she fearlessly maintained unto her last moments – leaving this earth peacefully in her sleep. She leaves behind an enormous empty space in our hearts, and will be missed tremendously by all who love her.

Visitation Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 3:00—7:00 p.m. with a funeral service to be held at 5:00 p.m. at Smits Funeral Home 2121 Pleasant Springs Lane, Dyer, IN, with Pastor Dale officiating. Memorial contributions may be given to Grace Lutheran Church.

For further information, please contact 219-322-7300.

Smits Funeral Homes
Smits Funeral Homes
We are a family-owned business providing compassionate, professional end-of-life care. We handle all the details during a difficult time, so you can focus on the things that matter. We understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. Call our main office at 219-322-7300 to find out more about the customized services we can offer your family when the time comes.