Mary was born on 13 October 1890 to Laurentio Trcka and Maria Hrach. She was baptized as Mariam Trcka at St. John Nepomuk Church on 26 October 1890. Wenceslaus and Catharina Zika served as her sponsors.

Mary married Al Hrebec on 16 April 1913 at St. Wenceslaus in the priest’s parlor. Their son, Warren, was born on 29 June 1914 and died on 19 May 1917 of spinal meningitis at age two years, eleven months. Burial for Warren was at Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery in an area set aside for young children. Their daughter, Bernice, was born on 20 November 1916.

Mary enjoyed fishing, playing cards, television, movies, baseball games, crocheting, and quilting. Her granddaughter Judy remembers as a young girl aged nine to thirteen being taken to Sportsmen’s Park on the Grand Avenue streetcar to Ladies’ Day baseball games for the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals. It was also a special treat to go downtown with Grandma to a movie, some shopping, and dinner.

After her husband Al’s death in 1947, Mary went to work part-time as a bottle labeler for R. H. Tillson Company located at 1318 So. Sixth Street, St. Louis. When her granddaughter, Judy, was about fifteen Mary brought her into the business working in the office typing up bills of lading and letters during her summer breaks. Mary had many good friends.

Mary told stories about Betty Grable coming to visit her aunts, Estelle and Rebecca Grable, who lived down the street at 4118 Juniata. Betty was known to say of the sisters, “They have coffee every day and there’s sure to be something good to eat.” The house was a two-story brick with a generous covered front porch.

Mary led a very active life but by the early 1960s she developed cataracts on both eyes and unfortunately surgery was not successful. She wore very thick and heavy glasses but would have been classified as legally blind. Mary was unable to enjoy her crocheting and her independence, and trips to movie theaters and baseball games were all gone. She lived upstairs from her daughter, Bernice, and had to move downstairs because she wasn’t able to cook or take care of herself. There was fear that she would fall down the long flight of stairs. Without her eyesight, she gave up the will to live and slowly deteriorated. She was in Incarnate Word Hospital at Grand and Lafayette to build up her weakened condition when she choked to death on a small piece of food that lodged in her throat and she was too weak to cough it up.

Her wake was at Kutis Funeral Home, 2906 Gravois, and her funeral Mass was from Holy Family Church officiated by Father Franke. Fr. Ramatowski also came to the grave. Msgr. Joseph Bremerich came to the funeral home. Her pall bearers were Harry O’Brien, Leo Bierling, Victor Welling, Dick Charpentier, Henry Schweizer, and Joe Schweizer. Mary and her husband, Al, are buried in Resurrection Cemetery.

Written by Judy Broleman
July 2020

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Last Modified: 04-Dec-2020 14:30