Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) Udvari died at the age of 87 on January 22, 2018. Born in Lorain, Ohio, she was the daughter of Ilo Sage Dellinger and Alice Abbott Dellinger. She was married to Stephen S. Udvari from 1954-2012.
Mary Beth was an angel on earth to her family and everyone she encountered. She had the power to heal with her touch, words, and actions. She was the calm in the midst of many storms. Mary Beth gave her time, energy and love unconditionally to her friends, neighbors, community and church.
Mary Beth lived a life of conscious compassion. After earning degrees from Pomona College in Claremont, CA and Columbia University in New York City she worked as an occupational therapist for over five decades, providing training to and advocacy for individuals with disabilities. In her early career she contributed to the field using innovative methods of rehabilitation and environmental adaptation in home and vocational settings for women who had become disabled. Over the course of her career she worked in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, county health departments, public schools, and nursing homes across the states of California and Wisconsin. She treated each individual with whom she worked with respect and dignity; keeping them at the center of the rehabilitative process.
Mary Beth was also a textile artist with eclectic skills in weaving, spinning wool, creating natural fiber dyes, sewing, quilt applique & stitchery. In concert with her husband's artistic talents they created a home that fostered creativity in their children and grandchildren.
At the age of 57 Mary Beth was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Throughout the last 30 years she navigated this arduous journey with the utmost tenacity, courage and grace. She was an intelligent self-advocate against the disease. She fought off early symptoms by researching and using integrative health approaches. She became an active member of the Madison Parkinson's Disease Group and worked with UW-Hospital faculty to educate medical students.
Mary Beth was devoutly loved and cared for by her husband Stephen, who preceded her in death. This poem that he wrote to her after she acquired Parkinson's embodies their relationship of 58 years.
"I know one thing, I could have been sustained by one caress -held so close that we merged into one another, one kiss of her lips, one smell of her hair, one touch of her hand enfolded in mine.
To me you are the brightness of the sun. Your presence warms me to the depth of my bones.
You are the wonder of the moon and its silvery glow. Your eyes twinkle and sparkle like the stars above. You coo words like the morning dove. You are God's gift to me to love.
I cherish you above all. You are always at my side, walking the same journey."
We want to provide special thanks to the staff at Oakwood Nursing Home, Madison WI who helped care for Mary Beth during the last 13 years and to the UCC Community of Hope in Madison where she received loving support from her congregation. Thank you to anyone who visited her in the last years of her life to offer companionship and speak to her true spirit that was intact beneath the disease.
Mary Beth is survived by her three children Stephen Udvari of White Bear Lake, MN and his children Joseph and Kate; Ilona Udvari, Joe Veith and their daughter Karlyn Davis of Menomonie; Alice and Mark Udvari-Solner and their daughters Madeline and Haven of Madison, WI
A celebration of her life will be held on April 7th at the Craftsman Restaurant from 2:00-5:00 pm (6712 Frank Lloyd Wright Ave. Middleton, WI). All are welcome who knew Mary Beth or her family.
In lieu of flowers or other gifts, Mary Beth had a wish to help young women in Africa to escape abuse, be educated, and gain equality. Please consider a donation to the Merry-Go-Strong Non-Profit Organization. Every dollar donated through April, 2018 will be earmarked in honor of Mary Beth Udvari for the Samburu Girls Foundation. To donate go to: https://www.merrygostrong.com/
Merry-Go-Strong 501 (c)(3) believes that every girl has a dream worth fulfilling. Their goal is to build a well for the Samburu Girls Foundation (SGF) in Kenya. SGF rescues girls from child marriage, FGM, and "Beading". Since their conception four years ago, they have rescued over 1000 girls by providing them with a safe house and scholarships to go to school. The foundation has power but not running water. Your generous gift will help provide the foundation with a source of water so that the girls can stay strong, healthy, and one step closer to fulfilling their dreams.