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Mary M. Gradishar

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June 13, 1921 — Feb. 20, 2011

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Mary Margaret Gradishar, of Newport Beach, Calif., peacefully passed away on Feb. 20, 2011. She is survived by her loving family, daughter, Peggy Burger and husband, Jerry; son, John and wife, Jill; grandchildren, James and Kathryn Gradishar; brother, Vincent Hennessy; and sisters, Rita and Evelyn Hennessy.

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Mary was born on June 13, 1921, in Hardy, Saskatchewan, Canada. At 16, her family moved to Brainerd, Minn. Mary graduated from Washington High School in Brainerd in 1940 and received a full scholarship to the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. She graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing education in June 1945. Mary married Rudolph (Rudy) Gradishar of Ely, Minn., in 1945 and the couple moved to California in the fall of 1945. Mary worked as an RN at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank where her twins, John and Peggy (Margaret) were born on Christmas morning in 1951. In 1955, Mary and her family moved to Newport Beach. She worked as a private care nurse at Hoag Hospital. In 1958, Mary came to the attention of Norm Watson, who was VP of Orange Coast College (OCC), when OCC was planning to open a two year RN program. Mary was hired as the first Nursing Educator for the new College. The Nursing Program moved to Golden West College in 1969 and Mary eventually became department head for the School of Nursing. Mary retired from Golden West College in 1983, which allowed her more time to enjoy her family and friends and to travel.

Mary and Rudy were parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Newport Beach. Mary’s funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Mount Carmel church by Father Sean Condon at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2011. A reception for all of Mary’s friends and family will follow the Mass. Mary will be buried with Rudy at the Veterans National Cemetery in Riverside, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, Mary’s family requests that donations be made to the Golden West College Foundation, 15744 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92647.

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