Obituary of Mary Perez Gago
Mary P. Gago was born María del Pilar Pérez Blanco on July 20, 1927 at her parental home in Sada, La Coruña, Spain, and was to be the only child of Avelino Pérez Saavedra and his wife Josefa Blanco García. Prompted by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Mary and her mother emigrated in 1936 to Cuba for a year, then to the United States where Avelino awaited them. Once residing in New York, Mary attended PS 1 in Manhattan where she learned English, then Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx where she earned a business diploma. She continued her education as a secretary at a business college in New York City and also took courses in commercial art. It was through a friend (later her sister-in-law) at art school that Mary met the love of her life, handsome former Marine Robert William Gago. The couple married on June 16, 1949 and had three children, raising them in the two-family home in the Bronx that they shared with Mary’s parents.
Mary’s early career began with a position as bilingual secretary for Colgate’s international division in Manhattan where she worked until her first child was a toddler. With the birth of the couple’s second child, Mary remained in the home to raise her children until all three were past elementary school age. She then returned to work outside the home for twenty years as a bilingual secretary for the New York City Board of Education, eventually retiring from her position as principal’s secretary at George Washington High School in Manhattan.
While working, Mary continued to pursue her education, and in 1986, graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Art. Four years later, she was awarded an MS in Business Education. Both degrees were earned at Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx. Due to budget cuts in the city school system which eliminated business education courses, she was unable to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher, and retired to spend time with her family.
After retiring, Mary and Robert sold the family home in the Bronx and moved to a townhouse in Highland Mills, NY. When Robert passed away in 2017, Mary was invited to reside with her daughter and son-in-law in Washingtonville, NY, moving with them to Wallkill, NY shortly before her death. Mary enjoyed socializing, music, dancing, singing, knitting, drawing, painting, and entertaining friends and family in her home. She will be remembered for her outgoing nature, hospitality, and cheerful optimism in spite of having lived through diphtheria, the Spanish Civil War, immigration, the Great Depression, tuberculosis, World War II, and three sassy teenagers–quite an amazing life!
Mary was predeceased by her parents and husband and is survived by her children Robert Randall “Randy” Gago, his wife Carmen “Trudy,” their sons Michael and William and granddaughters Isabella (Michael) and Jaylin (William); her daughter Angela Marie and her husband Dominique Viel and their children Julien and Anaïs and granddaughter Margot (Julien); and their son Ronald William “Ronnie,” his wife Carmen María, and their children Naomi, Angel, and Aveline, and granddaughter Kehlani (Angel); and by Ronnie’s sons James and Ron Jr. and grandchildren Anthony, Braxton, Kyson, and Serenity (Ron Jr.), and Truin and Everly (James).
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for the repose of Mary’s soul at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Bullville, NY on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at 10 a.m. following which she will be accompanied to her final resting place next to her beloved husband Robert in Orange County Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Goshen NY. There will be no visitation.
In lieu of flowers, the family offers the following suggestions. Mary loved children and often remarked that the years spent taking care of the little ones are the best years of one’s life. Therefore we suggest that in her honor one may choose to make a donation to Good Counsel Homes, an organization that helps women in crisis pregnancies by providing housing and education until they can become independent and support themselves and their children. https://www.goodcounselhomes.org/
Mary also enjoyed cooking and hosting gatherings for family and friends, therefore one might alternatively consider a donation in her honor to Food for the Poor https://foodforthepoor.org/ or to one’s local food pantry. Of course, no donation is necessary, and the family would be very appreciative of your prayers.
Mary’s family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Nurse Heather of Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties whose expertise and kindness informed and supported them throughout her final days, and Rich of Gagan Funeral Home for his courteous and professional service. They also wish to thank all of their dear friends and family members for their prayers, cards, calls, and presence at this difficult time.
Mary’s often repeated words of encouragement:
“Ya tienes el “no,” ahora tienes que buscar el “sí.” (You already have the “no,” now you have to go after the “yes!”)
In Loving Memory
1927 - 2023
William M. Gagan Funeral Home Inc. - Proudly Serving Pine Bush, NY and all of our surrounding communities.
"A Reputation Built on Friendly and Caring Service."
Our funeral home is a independently owned and operated business. We are large enough to give our families the same service as the largest funeral homes around, yet we are small enough that each family receives the level of attention and care they deserve in their hour of need
William M. Gagan Funeral Home Inc.
1525 Burlingham Road
County Road 7
Pine Bush, NY 12566