SUTTON — Marion Elizabeth (Kokernak) Ushinski, (aka “Nana-Banana”) 95 years, 7 months, and 23 days young, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother died in grace and peace at the home of her daughter, Gail Towne, in Sutton on August 7, surrounded by her loving family.
Mae was born December 15, 1922 in Dudley, the seventh of 11 children born to Stanislaus A. Kokernak and Anna M. Dzuirgot Kokernak.
Mae is survived by her five daughters and their families: Donna Bohon; Joan Eident and companion, Leo Forcier; Laurie Widmark and spouse, Peter; Gail Towne and spouse Bob; Cheryl D’Cruz and spouse Alex; her brother, Frank Kokernak and wife, Ann; sister-in-law Lucy Cote; sister-in-law Peggy Kokernak; as well as by seventeen beloved grandchildren, twenty-nine great-grandchildren, as well as countless cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
She was predeceased by her husband of seventy years, James Ushinski; her parents, Stanislaus and Anna Dzuirgot Kokernak; her brothers; Anthony, John, Edward, Felix, and Joseph; her sisters, Dorothy Kokernak, Alice Michalak, Kay Conrad, and Betty Titta; son-in-law, Bo, and her beloved grandchildren, An’gela Dufour and Adam Towne.
Mae’s husband, Jim, always described himself as a “jack of all trades, master of none”. But that familiar phrase was an even more accurate description of Mae with her many and diverse talents. If something needed doing, she wasn’t afraid to take it on. She played the piano throughout her life and loved singalongs. Almost every phrase or situation life threw at her, could just as easily be turned into a song. Later in her life she learned to play the harmonica, and became an enthusiastic member of a harmonica band in Florida. In 1940, she graduated from Worcester Girls Trade School skilled in the womanly art of dressmaking. A graduation requirement was to design and create one’s graduation dress. Mom proudly stated that “It fit like a glove.” Throughout the years, she also did piecework at a factory on Front Street, sewing straight skirts for the brand name Personnel, as well as various companies such as Telechron, US Envelope, and Iandoli’s. Mae utilized those hard earned skills throughout her life, sewing dresses and matching Easter outfits for her five, very lucky daughters, as well as creating sparkling, sequined roller skating costumes for her neighbor. The Donald Duck Halloween costumes she made for grandchildren Becky and Christy would have made Walt Disney proud! A prolific knitter, Mae created dozens of hooded baby sweaters in all sizes and colors as well as colorful ponchos with matching caps. Every December on her birthday, her children and grand-children ceremoniously light her handcrafted crystal-beaded Christmas tree lights in her honor (this was her way of making sure everyone remembered it was HER special day). The lighting of those trees will always represent the light she brought into all of our lives and we will always smile knowing she is watching over us at that moment. She was an avid and gifted gardener and always canned her own tomatoes and peaches. Her hands were never idle.
A funeral will be held on Friday, August 10, from Paradis-Givner Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oxford, followed by a Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Mark’s Church, 356 Boston Road, Sutton. Burial will follow at West Sutton Cemetery in Sutton. Calling hours are Thursday, August 9, from 5-8 p.m. at the funeral home.
To honor our Mom and her love of life, please share a smile with a stranger and a hug with someone who needs one. In lieu of flowers, donations may also be made to Notre Dame Hospice, 555 Plantation St., Worcester, MA 01605.