Mary Anne Madigan Groch, 81, died peacefully in Suwanee GA on April 10th, 2021. Mary Anne
was born on March 14th, 1940. We can hear her now smacking her tongue and trying to shush
us as we let her age slip onto the papers. She was famous for giving her birthdays away to
those that would eagerly enjoy adding a number to their age while she sat back and enjoyed the
Mary Anne loved to sing and dance. She was a long-standing member of Sweet Adelines
International which is an organization of women who sing barbershop music. Mary Anne was
particularly fond of oldies and classic singers like Tony Bennett and Elvis. Once, she attended a
festival where there was an Elvis impersonator. She was off in the corner bebopping and singing
along until the impersonator pulled her up on stage. Now, most people would have stage fright
but not Mary Anne. They sang a song together and of course, she couldn’t leave the stage
without an Elvis signature scarf that she cooed over for years. We found the blue scarf
preserved in her unmentionables drawer with the Ziploc message of, My day with Elvis.
Mary Anne married Richard F. Groch from Philadelphia, PA. This charming 6’2 man wooed this
5ft gal right off her feet and hornswoggled her into becoming his bride. Their love was one for
the storybooks as the two of them had a beautiful life together. They were blessed with three
awesome children who survive them: Richard (Rick) Groch (aka “the favorite”), Thomas (Tom)
Groch (who is more like our mother than he’d like to admit), and Colleen Groch Voisin (the baby
and only girl). We’d often ask our mom, “Why did you only have three children?” On good days
we would get answers such as… “I’d have a baseball team until I had my girl.” And on days
where we thoroughly got under her skin, she’d say, “I wish I had pigs, I could’ve eaten them.”
Mary Anne has five beautiful grandchildren that she loved more than anything but suffered from
Alzheimer’s in her later years which robbed them of experiencing the true love of a grandparent.
Mary Anne was honest to give her opinion and was stopped on occasion by her husband to hold
her tongue, as he was the Yin to her Yang. When he passed away in 1986, there was no one to
take his place to reign her in so we all had to suffer. Don’t let her 5ft frame fool you. She was a
bull in the ring and would tell you how it was. She was very headstrong. We don’t believe she
was ever part of the feminist movement or burned her bra back in the day but she definitely
would tell you that she didn’t need a man to take care of her because she could do it herself.
Mary Anne also enjoyed telling people what to do especially her kids and of course those who
forgot her “lucky E” at the end of Anne. Low and behold lies a secret to this letter. It will go down
as an asterisk in the history books because upon recent discovery it is absent from her birth
Mary Anne graduated from Mount Aloysius College and had a number of careers in her life like
bookkeeping and real estate, just to name a few. When was younger, she went to cosmetology
school and became a hairdresser. She wouldn’t let anyone cut her hair because no one could
do it right. Mary Anne was prim and proper and very particular about her hair and make-up.
Being presentable was a must in her book and you would never catch her without her lipstick.
When getting ready in the morning she would crack open her red lipstick, smack her lips
together and say, “Baby stand back!” Red was her favorite color which made it rather easy for
family members on holidays as she’d say, “I’ll take anything as long as it’s red.”
Mary Anne crossed over the rainbow leaving way too many brothers and sisters to mention,
alive and deceased, in this ridiculously long obituary. Her parents, Marie E. Beiswenger and
Thomas B. Madigan married and had fourteen children, yes, you read that right. Good ole Irish,
Catholic family that lived in Amsbry, PA. Mary Anne knew all too much about flowers and plants.
Her love of plants started in the greenhouse with her mother when she was just a kid as a way
of avoiding chores with her other siblings. Her green thumb took her to many places including
the garden centers where she would roam the aisles and pinch off leaves of plants she didn’t
have and then go home to propagate them. Mary Anne often referred to this as “pruning the
dead.” Her love of plants afforded her the opportunity to capture her dream of owning a flower
shop. The doors of the Yellow Ribbon Florist opened for many years until she sold it to move on
to another adventure. Her botany knowledge led her to become a Master Gardner with Penn
State University which satiated her love, once again, for telling folks what to do, especially with
Mary Anne led a good life and talked to strangers on a regular basis. Be it the grocery stores,
gas stations, you name it, she was just a social butterfly. She didn’t care if it made her look
crazy, embarrassed her children, or went against everything that we are taught NOT to do as
kids. Mary Anne just wanted to say hello and start a conversation. She was a very kind and
caring soul and would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. She volunteered her time
just to get to know people. She was always going to parties and baking cookies for events. If
you were ever a recipient of a pack of her Pizzelles, then you know what we’re talking about.
We believe her love for baking was passed down from her mother who made everything from
scratch. When folks would ask Mary Anne for the recipe for her delicious creations, our mother
would supply it, minus an ingredient or three. When the recipe recipient would call and say, “I
made it but it just doesn’t taste like yours...” Mary Anne would simply reply, “Huh, I wonder
why?” Now, we’re not sure if missing ingredients started the same time her Alzheimer’s kicked
in or she did this on a regular basis but we are happy to double-check those recipes for you.
Mary Anne suffered from Alzheimer’s for the last 10 years of her life. Alzheimer’s took the ability
for her to remember all of the good times in her life and erased memories of the faces and
names of many that she loved. If folks are looking to send flowers or plants for our mother’s
passing, well, she would simply tell you not to waste your money. She would want you to go
outside and get your hands dirty by planting a garden or a flower bed somewhere, anywhere,
even if it wasn’t your property. Mary Anne would create popup gardens and say, “Here is my
patch of sunshine in all of this crap.” Bringing sunshine to life was what she did. If you ever
hear Tony Bennett’s song Sunnyside of the Street, think of Mary Anne. We can see her now,
grabbing her coat and hat and leaving her worries on the doorstep because she is in a better
place, handing out mints, and enjoying your 100th cup of tea.
Celebration of life services will be held in late June 2021 in Pennsylvania and burial will be with
her husband in New Jersey. Please check back for the exact date and location.
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