Mary Ann was taken from us all too soon on April 9, 2022. The daughter of the late Helen Rokus (Simkus) and the late Vincent Peter Rokus, she was born on April 29, 1947 in Elmhurst, NY. She was the first born of a family of four siblings. During her childhood, she was surrounded by loving parents, grandparents, Godparents, aunts, uncles along with many cousins and friends of the family. Her entire family circle was very active in supporting their local parishes. Shortly after her parents built the family home, Mary Ann turned five and her first sister came into her life. Two years after that, another sister was born and Mary Ann was certainly growing into her role as mom’s little helper. Four years following that event, a brother was born.
While growing up, Mary Ann would try to help her siblings--instilling good habits for studying hard--but most importantly making sure they were safe. She enjoyed playing piano and tried teaching them what she had learned. She excelled in all her schooling, always being an A student starting at Saint Stanislaus Kostka School, followed by Bishop McDonnell Catholic High School in Brooklyn, then St. Joseph’s College for her Bachelor’s and finally Queens College for her Master’s degree in Education.
Some of the happiest, more relaxing times in Mary Ann’s life were the summers she spent in Greenwood Lake, NY. This is a special place for family and friends. A multitude of memories were formed there enjoying the lake -- swimming, boating, feeding the fish and ducks, all the amazing yard sales, and of course the fun times at the bungalow playing Scrabble, Pinochle, and many other card and board games along with bowling on her father’s and uncle’s hand-made bowling alley in the basement.
Early family trips were very memorable including the ones to the NY World’s Fair in the 1960s, Expo 67 in Montreal and all the other road trips across the eastern seaboard. She sang, along with her mother and father, with the Transfiguration Church Lithuanian choir at the 1964 Worlds’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park. traveled across the country with many friends, but in particular, Pat Effren, another extremely dedicated teacher that passed a few years ago. Mary Ann enjoyed driving until her eyesight worsened and her foot was injured.
She was a dedicated daughter to her parents, and helped with what she could as a niece to her aunts and uncles. She continuously tried to help all her family members with whatever she could. Mary Ann also had a strong love of all animals, especially cats, and she cared for many during her life.
Throughout her life, she was a dedicated churchgoer and was a member of two church choirs. She was responsible for arranging many May Crowning events, church plays, church raffles and fund-raising affairs to help support various parishes. During her 42 years of teaching Elementary grade children at Ascension RC Elementary School in Elmhurst, NY and Saint Adalbert’s Catholic Academy also located in Elmhurst, NY, she made special efforts to help endless numbers of students have successful learning experiences. Mary Ann’s teaching time never ended when the school bell rang at the end of the day. She was exceptionally dedicated to her career and many students reached back to her decades later to thank her for her time and care spent for their future.
She always tried to keep her Lithuanian roots strong especially with her support for the continuation and future of the Lithuanian mass at Transfiguration RC Church in Maspeth, NY. She was a member of the Knights of Lithuania.
Mary Ann’s memory will remain strong by the hundreds of people her life touched. We pray there is a special place in heaven for her where she will find peace and may a choir of angels receive her and re-join her with her family members and friends who have passed.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, which is a no kill animal rescue that was heavily supported by Mary Ann during her time with us.