Mary Josephine (Daley) Sazama was born in North Portal, Saskatchewan, Canada on October 16th, 1935, to Arthur and Louise (Pfeifer) Daley. She was lovingly received into the arms of Jesus and entered her eternal home on November 2, 2021, at the age of 86.
Mary Jo is preceded in death by her parents, brother Jerry and sister-in-law Joan Daley and brother-in-law Walter Schwarting. She is survived by her beloved and devoted husband Thomas George Sazama, Merrill, WI, four loving children Jeanne (Kevin) Custy of Lone Tree, CO, Joanne (Paul) Andress of Colgate, WI, Julie (Mike) Hogan of New Brighton, MN, Jerry (Gina) Sazama of Waconia, MN, eighteen grandchildren, sister-in-law Mary Jo Schwarting of Oconomowoc, WI, sister-in-law Karen (Richard) Sonnentag of Oconomowoc, WI, cousins, and many nieces and nephews.
Mary Jo was a faithful and devoted Catholic who followed God’s greatest commandments to love Him above all else and love her neighbor as herself. Her life centered on God, family, and friends. She was brilliant and hard-working, yet supremely kind and humble, living in full service to others. Mary Jo always treated everyone with respect and acted with integrity. She made everyone feel special and went above and beyond to assist others.
As a child, Mary Jo and her brother rode a horse-drawn buggy to a one-room schoolhouse in North Portal, graduating at age 16. She left home and traveled to Regina, Saskatchewan to attend the Grey Nuns Boarding School until she was 18 and old enough to go to the Grey Nuns School of Nursing, where she became a Registered Nurse. After nursing school she was accepted into Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, and earned her Bachelor of Science teaching degree in Nursing. After her graduation in 1959 she met the love of her life Tom while he was completing Law School at Marquette. Born in Canada and intending to live in the US, Mary Jo studied hard and was proud to pass a Nationalization Exam to become a US citizen in 1962.
Mary Jo and Tom married on April 23, 1960 at Gesu Church in Milwaukee surrounded by family and friends. They moved to Merrill in February of 1961, where they raised their family and have lived ever since. She and Tom recently celebrated 61 years of a blessed marriage.
Beginning in 1961, Mary Jo paused her nursing career to raise children and enjoy family life with Tom. She was very involved in their parish school and extracurricular activities: led their Girl Scout Troops, became a Den Mother, taught religious education, and was President of St. Robert’s (now St. Francis) Home and School Association. Mary Jo was actively involved at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Altar Society, St. Jude’s Circle, and Pro-Life groups. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Adoration Chapel at St. Francis and the unborn baby memorial in Merrill’s cemetery. Mary Jo was also an active community outreach member, serving in the Merrill Newcomer’s Club, Merrill Jaycettes, Holy Cross Hospital Auxiliary, Lincoln County Legal Auxiliary, Good Samaritan Health Center Foundation Board, River Valley State Bank Advisory Board, and many other beneficial programs.
After all of her children were in school full-time, Mary Jo returned to nursing where she was employed by the Lincoln County Nursing Service as a home health nurse.
Mary Jo was an avid hunter and fisherman, out-fishing and out-hunting everyone in her family. She was always adventuresome and enjoyed camping, gardening, sports, snowmobiling, boating, and slalom waterskiing. She enjoyed her bridge, Toastmasters, Beta Sigma Phi, and Red-Hatter social groups.
Our dear Mary Jo will be missed on earth and we rejoice in knowing she will be eternally joined with Jesus. We look forward to the day we are united with her again. Thank you to all who have cared for Mary Jo throughout her journey, especially the supportive clergy and staff at St. Francis and the wonderful staff at Bell Tower & Aspirus Hospice.
There will be visitation from 10:30am until 11:30 am on Saturday, November 6th, 2021 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Merrill, with a Rosary being prayed at 11:30 am, with a 12:00 pm Mass of Christian Burial to follow, all at the church. Interment at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery will immediately follow the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to St. Francis Xavier School, 1708 E. 10th Street, Merrill, WI 54452.
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.