Mary Bertha Szabat of Laurel died at her home Sept. 16, 2013, with her family by her side. She was 86 years of age.
Mary Bertha was born on the family farm in Laurel on Feb. 16, 1927, the only daughter of Felix and Mary Rutkowski. She worked as a secretary with RCA Communications, where she met William Szabat, whom she married. Together they raised five daughters, Linda Sanford of Chappaqua, N.Y., and Southold, Kathryn Szabat of Ardmore, Pa., Laura Richards of Plymouth, Mass., Mary Lionetti of Lyme, Conn., and Eva Mortenson of Ellicot City, Md.
Mary was a loving and devoted mother who instilled in her daughters the value of hard work, the pursuit of higher education and a love of music. Mary also loved to care and cook for her four grandchildren, William Sanford, Cathi Sanford-Flores, Margaret Richards and Ann Evans. Her great-granddaughter, Isabella Flores, was the light of her life. She was an avid fan of St. John’s University basketball and Yankees baseball. She also loved to travel with her family.
Mary was a devout Catholic who served St. Isidore R.C. Church in Riverhead in many capacities over her lifetime, from secretary in the rectory to driving the annual bishop’s appeal fund. She was also a dedicated member of the St. Isidore Altar Rosary Society.
In addition to her daughters and grandchildren, Mary is survived by three sons-in-law, Fred Richards, Eric Mortenson and Robert Lionetti, and four brothers, Felix, Frank and Joseph Rutkoske, all of Delaware, and John Rutkoske of Florida. Mary, sadly, was predeceased by her two youngest brothers, William and Thomas.
An Altar Rosary Society service will be held Thursday, Sept. 19, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. at St. Isidore R.C. Church, Father Ken Zach and Father Robert Kuznik officiating. Interment will follow at the church cemetery.
This is a paid notice.