MANISTIQUE – Mary Magdalen Nelli, 95, a longtime resident of Manistique, came into eternal life on Thursday, June 24, 2021 at the Schoolcraft County Medical Care Facility where she has been residing for the past few months.
She was born on May 7, 1926 to Slovenian immigrant parents, Anna (Rozich) and Frank Z. Gorsche, in Manistique.
Mary attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic School and graduated from Grade 8 in 1940. She then graduated as a Major from Manistique High School with the Class of 1944.
After graduation and a brief summer job as an accountant / secretary in the offices of the Inland Lime and Stone Company, she enlisted in the government sponsored cadet nurse program. She chose the Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago and began the three-year program to earn her nursing degree.
After graduating on May 27, 1947, she spent 14 years on the staff of the Michael Reese Hospital. After being appointed head nurse of two medico-surgical units, she was appointed supervisor of a private nursing pavilion.
When Mary returned to Manistique in 1961, to care for her mother who had had a stroke, she asked Michael Reese for leave and ultimately resigned. After her mother’s recovery, she applied and was accepted for a job at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital. She was on staff as an operating room supervisor until her retirement in 1986.
Mary married Peter Nelli of Hancock on June 12, 1965. During their pleasant 32-year life together, trips included trips to the Expo in British Columbia, moose hunts in Alberta, Canada and a Alaska cruise.
Mary was proud of Pete’s heritage as a skilled carpenter. He donated his time and material to design (with brass and marble components from the obsolete communion rail) the magnificent altar, the pulpit, various matching furniture for the Church of St. Francis de Sales and the baptismal font of the Divine Infant mission in Prague. He also designed Mary’s unique kitchen area, where she excelled in making traditional Croatian povatetzas for friends and family.
Mary had a great sense of humor, especially if the joke was on her! Her hobbies included piano, dancing (especially polka dots), crosswords, creative writing, knitting in intricate patterns of Christmas stockings and sweaters. Her love of animals was quite evident to her “family” of several cats (nine at a time!) and dogs. She was a dedicated lifelong parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, US VFW Ladies Auxiliary Life Member, Michael Reese Nurses Alumni Life Member, Association Member of the daughters of Italy and life member of the Association of Bishop Baraga.
She was predeceased by her parents; husband, Peter Nelli; brothers, Francis Joseph (Gloria), John Aloysius, Peter Paul, Gorsche; sisters, Ann Marie (Anton) Marusich, Kathryn Christine (Joseph) Pastore; sister-in-law, Georgia Lucchesi; nephews, John Pastore and Paul Marusich; and cousins, Jack (Virginia), Robert (Eunice), Peter (Janice) Rozich, Lois MacKinder, George (Sylvia), Peter (Helen), Stanley (Barbara) and Joseph, Tomac, Mary Stadnyk and Mirko (Slavice) Stegne.
Survivors include her stepdaughter, Sandra (Ron) Gildersleeve; sister-in-law, Arvella Gorsche; nieces and nephews, Angela (Joseph) Haughlie, Ann Marie (Joseph) Lett, Christine Rozich, Mary Jane (John) Nemetz, Paula (Bruce) Polso, Val Marie (Patrick) Rozich, Tony Gorsche, Francis Joseph Gorsche, Jr., Ann Louise (Jim) Megas, Michael (Carol) Anton Jr., Mary Beth and Stephan Marusich; .several great-nieces and nephews; cousin, Shirley Shaw; and a very precious friend, Cherie Michalik.
Mary M. Nelli’s visit will take place at St. Francis de Sales Church on Thursday, July 1, 2021, from 11 a.m. until the time of Christian funeral Mass at noon, with Reverend Father Glenn Theoret as officiant. Interment will follow Mass at Fairview Cemetery in Manistique. In lieu of flowers, commemorative contributions can be made to the parish of St. Francis de Sales de Manistique. Manistique’s Fausett Family Funeral Homes assists the family with the arrangements. Online condolences can be left on their website at Fausettfh.com.