Mary Stevens of West Bloomfield passed away Tuesday morning September 7, 2021 at age 100.
Mary was born on July 14, 1921 to James and Mary Mgrdichan a first-generation immigrant and an English teacher, Mary grew up on a vegetable and dairy farm in Hickory, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Mary was schooled in a one-room schoolhouse with multiple grades but graduated from the Hickory Vocational High School in 1940. She attended Westminster College of New Wilmington, PA and then after World War II, Mary followed her older brother, Charles, to college at the University of Detroit.
She studied home economics before marrying her first husband, George Vartanian, an auto worker, union organizer, and amateur boxer. They were married on December 6, 1941, only to wake on their honeymoon to the news of Pearl Harbor. The honeymoon was put on hold as the war started. Never having children of their own, Mary and George were devoted to the nieces and nephews of George’s sister, Goharik – Roxanne, Ophilia, and Haik, and their children – and the care of George’s mother’s sister, Shushig.
Mary and George lived in Dearborn, MI along with George’s mother and Sushig. After the death of both his mother, Mary and George moved several times to Farmington Hills, Bloomfield Hills, and West Bloomfield. They also had a cottage in Port Huron, where Mary was known to host family get-togethers with the extended family. Mary could always be counted on to put her home economics training to good use, cooking and baking for the entire family.
Professionally, Mary rose to the level of “first girl” in a stock brokerage—a position that required her to manage the office staff and put her in a position on par with the professional stockbrokers of the office, an amazing feat for a woman in her day.
Moving to Port Huron full time after George retired, they stayed there until George developed Alzheimer’s disease. They moved back to Farmington, where they stayed until George passed away from his disease.
After George’s passing Mary helped many other widows who had no experience whatsoever in financial matters. For years, Mary was the woman to see for help if a husband passed away but had been controlling the family’s finances without any involvement of the wife.
Mary was quite active in her church, the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington, and with the Costick Activities Center in Farmington Hills. While at the Costick Center, she met her 2nd husband, James Stevens. She and James married in 1996 and continued to live in Farmington where they explored the local area and visited every used bookstore in southeastern Michigan.
After James’ death in 2012, Mary was again on her own; shortly thereafter she moved to American House and eventually to Townehall Place in West Bloomfield. After she could no longer attend church Mary began each day with an hour of Bible study. In her final years, Mary often expressed wonder that since she was no longer ambulatory and could not serve the church, she felt that she was ready for God to take her which He did on September 7, 2021.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husbands, brother Charles Bruce Macklin of Carlsbad, CA. and niece Laura Susan Winifed Macklin of Potomac, MD.
Mary Stevens is survived by James’ children: Harry Stevens, of Troy, MI; Nancy McCullar of Allentown PA; Homer Stevens of Sun City, AZ and Mark Stevens of Box Elder, SD, as well as her niece Ophelia Alabakoff of Dearborn, MI and her nephew Bruce Macklin of Carlsbad, CA. She is alive in the thoughts of multiple generations of nieces and nephews of the Vartanian and Mgrdichan (Macklin) families also.
Mary leaves behind numerous wonderful friends including long-term Stephens minister Alice Williams and husband Bud of West Bloomfield, and dear neighbors Sai and Usha Vemuri and their children. Her family of the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington was especially important to her. Pastor Eddie Jusino exemplifies the spirit and inclusiveness of this congregation.
A private ceremony for the immediate family and church members was held on September 13th at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington.
Donations to the church in Mary’s name will help her reach her goal of spreading the word of the church.
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