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MaryAnn Rose Henzel

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MaryAnn Rose Henzel passed away on October 21, 2023, at home, where she wanted to be, with her family. She was just shy of her 90th birthday. She was born in New Castle, PA, December 14, 1933, to the late Michael and Nicolina Cassella. MaryAnn was also preceded in death by her only sibling, Rev. John J. Cassella.

She attended public school and New Castle Business College. Her nickname was Cassie, derived from her last name. She was a drum majorette in high school and even found enjoyment in twirling that baton in later years. She stayed physically active through most of her life with sports and dancing. MaryAnn believed in how a positive attitude affects life and to never give up.

In 1961, she moved to Norfolk, VA, with the love of her life and her soulmate, husband Joseph B. Henzel. She taught Health and PE at Holy Trinity School and Norfolk Catholic High School in the '60's and ‘70's. MaryAnn also coached the girls' basketball team at Holy Trinity. There, she also establishe­d a 7th and 8th grade Public Speaking Program for students and opened “The Little People's Library”, teaching library skills to elementary grade students, along with story time.

MaryAnn also had a career in the medical field. She worked at DePaul Hospital from 1975 to 1978. After that, she was a medical secretary and office manager for various private doctors. She worked at Eastern Virginia Medical School as an Administra­tive Assistant, working for multiple doctors over the course of several years.

Her children will always remember the outings to Sarah Constant Shrine beach in Ocean View, the birthday celebratio­ns with all the neighborho­od kids and homemade cakes shaped like animals, the trips to Colonial Williamsbu­rg and to Nags Head and Manteo, NC, and, of course, joyful song-filled road trips to her hometown of New Castle, PA. Steaming live crabs in the avocado-colored kitchen we all grew up in. Keeping up the tradition of Italian cooking that she had learned from her immigrant parents and relatives. Her Kenmore sewing machine--that she saved money to buy and was so proud of. So many memories that we cannot fit them all.

In 1996, MaryAnn and her husband moved to Williamsbu­rg, VA, to retire and to be closer to their grandchild­ren. She loved her new home and being near her son and his family. She enjoyed lots of holidays, celebratio­ns and school activities with him, her daughter-in-law, and their grandchild­ren. She treasured watching the grandkids grow up and have families of their own. She was extremely proud of all of them. Around this same time, MaryAnn and her husband became “snowbirds” to Florida. They would visit one of their daughters during part of the cold Virginia winters, where they made new friends and enjoyed dinners, parties, shows, swimming, tennis and being warm.

MaryAnn was strong in her Catholic faith and active in her religious life both in Norfolk and then, in Williamsbu­rg, at St. Olaf Catholic Church. She served as Eucharist minister and lector. She participat­ed in the Fellowship hospitalit­y group that gathered after Mass and she also worked in the Food Pantry alongside her husband.

She had a lifelong love of music and appreciate­d all musical genres. She knew all the words and had a beautiful singing voice. As a child, she, and her brother (who played the accordion) would perform for family and friends in their Italian community. In later years, she grew fond of contempora­ry country music, sitting at what she called her “station” at the dining room table with her trusty radio.

MaryAnn had an unbelievab­le memory to the very end. She could recall phone numbers, dates of specific events, names, etc., without fail. A couple of MaryAnn's favorite poems were “If” by Rudyard Kipling, which she could recite, and “Hope” is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson. Gardenias were a favorite flower and a few days after her passing, a gardenia bloomed in a daughter's yard--which should not happen in late October. A wink from MaryAnn from heaven.

She was a passionate woman who spoke her mind and gave direction very easily. She instilled in her children the importance of family, hard work and doing what is right. MaryAnn was an inspiratio­n to all, and she touched many lives throughout her earthly journey.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Joseph; their four children, Denise (Cliff) Middleton, Victoria Henzel, JoAnn Henzel, and Joseph (Dawn) Henzel; four grandchild­ren, Heather (Jonathan), Daniel (Leighann), Tori (Savot) and Bridget; and seven great-grandchild­ren, Olivia, Esther, Daniel, Caleb, KalEl, Isla and Corbin. Also, family still in Pennsylvan­ia, a cousin, Ronnie; sisters-in-law Anna, Julie, and Amelia, and brother-in-law Johnny (and all their families). She will always be in our hearts, and we will never forget her. A special thanks to the Riverside Williamsbu­rg Hospice team for their compassion and support, especially Amanda and Renee.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Olaf Catholic Church, 104 Norge Ln., Williamsbu­rg, VA, on Friday, November 10, 2023, at 12:00 pm with the visitation starting at 11am. A luncheon to celebrate her life will follow at the same location in the church's social hall. She will be inurned at St. Olaf Columbariu­m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation made in MaryAnn's name to either the St. Olaf Food Pantry (www.stolaf.cc or 757-564-3819) or Grove Christian Outreach Center (www.groveoutre­ach. com or 757-887-1100). Online condolence­s may be shared at www.nelsenwill­iamsburg.com.

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