Mary Magdalen Nelli

MANISTIQUE — Longtime Manistique resident, Mary Magdalen Nelli, age 95, entered everlasting life on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at the Schoolcraft County Medical Care Facility where she had resided the past few months.

She was born the daughter of immigrant Slovenian parents, Anna (Rozich) and Frank Z. Gorsche on May 7, 1926, in Manistique.

Mary attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic School and was a 1940 graduate of the 8th grade. She then graduated as the valedictorian from Manistique High School with the class of 1944.

Following graduation and a brief summer employment as the bookkeeper/secretary in the offices of the Inland Lime and Stone Company, she enlisted in the government sponsored Cadet Nurse program. She chose the Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago and began the three year program to obtain her nursing degree.

After graduation on May 27, 1947, she remained for 14 years on the staff of Michael Reese Hospital. After appointment as the head nurse of two medical and surgical units, she was appointed as the supervisor of a private nursing pavilion.

When Mary returned to Manistique in 1961, to care for her mother who had suffered a stroke, she applied for a leave of absence from Michael Reese and ultimately resigned. After her mother’s recovery, she applied for and was accepted for employment at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital. She served on the staff as operating room supervisor until her retirement in 1986.

Mary married Peter Nelli of Hancock on June 12, 1965. During their enjoyable life of 32 years together, travels included trips to Expo in British Columbia, moose hunts in Alberta, Canada and an Alaskan cruise.

Mary was proud of Pete’s skilled carpentry legacy. He donated his time and materials to design (with components of brass and marble from the obsolete Communion rail) the magnificent altar, lectern, miscellaneous matching furniture for St. Francis de Sales Church, and the Baptismal font at Divine Infant of Prague Mission. He also designed Mary’s unique kitchen area where she excelled in baking traditional Croatian povatetzas gifted for friends and relatives.

Mary had a great sense of humor, particularly if the joke was on her! Her hobbies included piano playing, dancing, (especially the polka), crosswords, creative writing, intricate pattern knitting of Christmas stockings and sweaters. Her love of animals was quite evident by her “family” of multiple cats (nine at one time!) and dogs. She was a devout life-long parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, life member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the U.S. VFW, life member of the Michael Reese Nurses Alumni association, member of the Daughters of Italy Association, and life membership in the Bishop Baraga Association.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Peter Nelli; brothers, Francis Joseph (Gloria), John Aloysius, Peter Paul, Gorsche; sisters, Ann Marie (Anton) Marusich, Kathryn Christine (Joseph) Pastore; sister-in-law, Georgia Lucchesi; nephews, John Pastore and Paul Marusich; and cousins, Jack (Virginia), Robert (Eunice), Peter (Janice) Rozich, Lois MacKinder, George (Sylvia), Peter (Helen), Stanley (Barbara), and Joseph, Tomac, Mary Stadnyk and Mirko (Slavice) Stegne.

Survivors include her step-daughter, Sandra (Ron) Gildersleeve; sister-in-law, Arvella Gorsche; nieces and nephews, Angela (Joseph) Haughlie, Ann Marie (Joseph) Lett, Christine Rozich, Mary Jane (John) Nemetz, Paula (Bruce) Polso, Val Marie (Patrick) Rozich, Tony Gorsche, Francis Joseph Gorsche, Jr., Ann Louise (Jim) Megas, Michael (Carol) Anton Jr., Mary Beth and Stephan Marusich; .several great nieces and nephews; cousin, Shirley Shaw; and special treasured friend, Cherie Michalik.

Visitation for Mary M. Nelli, will take place at St. Francis de Sales Church on Thursday, July 1, 2021, from 11 a.m., until the time of the Mass of Christian Burial at noon, with Rev. Father Glenn Theoret officiating. Burial will follow the Mass at the Fairview Cemetery in Manistique. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the St. Francis de Sales Parish of Manistique. Fausett Family Funeral Homes of Manistique is assisting the family with the arrangements. Online condolences may be left at their website at Fausettfh.com.