Maria Anita “Mary Ann” (nee Martinez) Berry, age 74, passed away on February 2, 2016 at Sherman hospital in Elgin, Illinois. Maria was born on September 16, 1941 in Laredo, Texas one of six children of the loving parents of Alice (nee Fisher) and Fidel Martinez.

From an early age, she was given special treatment. Singling her out from her siblings, her grandmother, Clara, would frequently take her shopping and brag around town about her hazel-eyed granddaughter. It was even rumored Clara took Mary to Mexico to be baptized.

After living in Laredo for several years, Mary’s mother, Alice, relocated the family to Chicago. The move and adjustment was not easy by any means, but Mary and her siblings formed unbreakable bonds as a way to stay united, which would follow them throughout the rest of their lives.

During Mary’s short lived academic career, she was quite gifted and was even double promoted early on. However, instead of staying on this path, she quickly was intrigued by the independence working provided her. At the age of 14, Mary began working for an advertising agency, a printing press, and even did housekeeping, all until she married and began a family.

Becoming a mother was Mary’s biggest accomplishment in life, It was because of her children, and her upbringing that she learned strength, determination, perseverance, and selflessness.

From an early age, Mary loved children, and had a nurturing motherly aura about her, which followed her into motherhood and extended to her many nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Though motherhood was not the easiest for Mary, as a single mother, she provided as best as she could by working many jobs and double shifts at times. She loved her children, and would have done the impossible to provide for them.

In 1979, Mary found true love and remarried to Michael Berry. Through him she found a best friend and unconditional love and support. As a couple, they took many trips, including to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Hawaii, Arizona, and arguably her favorite, Las Vegas, where gambling became a favorite hobby of hers. Together, Mary and Mike hosted several parties and family reunions together, making their home a frequent destination for family. There was never a dull moment or free weekend for the two.

If there is anything she would want to be emphasized about her life, it is that her husband, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews meant the world to her, making it a priority to teach her family to not take any mistreatment from others and to understand the importance of independence. Her family was her life.

She is survived by her husband, Michael Berry, her children, John (Karen) Fetzer III, Maria (Sergio) Espinosa and James Fetzer, four grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and her brothers Fidel and Fred (Sharron) Martinez.

She is preceded in death by her son Joseph Fetzer, mother Alice Leon (maiden Fisher), and siblings Lamar, Hank, and Martha.

Visitation will be Saturday February 13, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm with services starting at 4:00 pm at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park Street, Elgin, IL 60120. LT John Fetzer IV of the Salvation Army will officiate.  For more information please call 847-741-1128 or visit www.symondsmadisonfuneralhome.com.

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