Ciardelli, Mary Catherine (Brennan)
Mary Ciardelli of Crosslake, (formerly of Bloomington) the proud mother of 11 children, passed away at the home she loved on Friday, May 17th, 2019 after a two-year struggle with breast cancer. Mary died peacefully with her family present, who had the privilege of caring for her during the last weeks of her life.
Mary was born on March 19th, 1933 to Cecil and Angeline Brennan in Hackensack, MN. As the eldest of five children, Mary had many great memories of her childhood including helping her mom take care of her younger siblings or manage the drugstore her parents owned in Hackensack. After graduating from Walker High School, she moved to Minneapolis where she became employed as a telephone operator for Northwestern Bell. Shortly after moving to Minneapolis Mary met Don Ciardelli, who she married in 1953 and together they raised 11 children in Bloomington, MN.
Mary always had a positive attitude and outlook on life, and even amongst her trials with illness she still managed to laugh and cheer on her kids as they were taking care of her in her last days. From a very young age she wanted to do everything. She was fiercely independent and never afraid of failure or that she couldn’t accomplish anything she put her mind to. She grew to love antiques and when her youngest children were in high school she decided to open her own antique shop called The Country Goose in Excelsior, MN.
After retiring Mary and Don moved to their beloved log home on O’Brien Lake in Crosslake, MN which Mary filled with antiques and her collections of beautiful magical things. Her grandchildren called it “fairyland.” Mary had many gifts and talents. She grew beautiful flowers that she could arrange as well as any florist. She was very musical and had a special love for Prince and even attended many of his concerts. After his death the simple mention of his name would bring tears to her eyes.
Mary was also a fabulous cook and as a young Irish girl who married into a strong Italian family, she quickly learned the tricks of the trade and could rival the finest chefs in Italy. She even came up with her own shortcuts for making homemade sauce that didn’t require standing at the stove for hours, much to the chagrin of her elders!
Mary lived her life with grace, dignity and love. She taught her children to be kind and to show empathy and compassion for others. She appreciated diversity and embraced every situation with positivity. She had gratitude for all the gifts she was given in her life, including her 11 children who were her proudest accomplishment and even said she would have loved to have had many more. She had so much love for her family and has had a positive and lasting impact that will remain with them always. She was the heart and soul of her family and she will be deeply missed.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents and husband (Don) of 54 years. She is survived by her sisters Anne Bradshaw, Susan (Joe) Voss, Patricia Brennan, brother Joseph (Chris) Brennan, children Catherine (Ted) Terp, Anne (Roger) Parks, Daniel (Karin Schuman) Ciardelli, Kerry Ciardelli, Michael (Diane) Ciardelli, Lisa (Don) Beaupre, Robert (Ann) Ciardelli, Theodore (Kari) Ciardelli, Christopher (Shannon) Ciardelli, Brigitte (Joe) Janasz, Anthony (Brenda) Ciardelli, all in Minnesota. 36 grandchildren Jennifer, Aly, Ben, Lauren, Molly, Thea, Courtney, Adam, Erin, Lindsay, Lauren, Conrad, Madeline, Nathan, Abby, Caleigh, Nick, Jennifer, Christina, Connor, Isabelle, Ashley, Dominic, Olivia, Cole, Parker, Sophia, Hailey, Joseph, Shelby, Gina, Grace, Max, Sam, Anne, Maria, Coco, Ciri and 35 great grandchildren.
The family would like to thank Rita Hulcey for the love and care she gave to our mother over the last few years as well as her many kind neighbors in Crosslake.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Minnesota Public Radio, 480 Cedar Street, St Paul, MN 55101 (or MPR.org)
A celebration of Mary’s life will be held at the Golden Valley Country Club on June 20th from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, with a special tribute to Mary beginning at 5:00pm and food and beverages immediately following.
Golden Valley Country Club 7001 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN 55427.