Meet Mary Nassar

April 15, 2016 Resident Spotlight

Mary Nassar was born in Windsor, Canada on April 15, 1925 to Shy and Mary Courey. She had six brothers and sisters, which made for an interesting childhood. Being the third oldest in the group, she always had someone to play with, and plenty of responsibility.

Her father was a business owner and ran his own meat market. They also raised chickens.

“They always had a lot of food growing up,” said Pam Buhler, Mary’s youngest daughter.

However, preparing the food wasn’t always an easy task, or very pleasant.

“I didn’t like killing them [the chickens] because I loved them,” said Mary Nassar. “But they were there to eat.”

Mary worked in her father’s store until she met John Nassar and they were married.

“We met at a bowling alley,” said Mary.

Both Mary and John enjoyed bowling and spent many of their dates at the alley. They also liked going to the movies.

After six months, John and Mary decided it was time for their relationship to develop into a more serious commitment.

“We figured we might as well get married. Why not?” Mary explained.

In May of 1952, family and friends gathered for their wedding ceremony. They moved to Detroit and rented a two bedroom flat. It was perfect for the two of them, but their family quickly grew.

A year after their wedding, John and Mary welcomed their first daughter, Geralyn. Their son, John, joined them eleven months later, followed by Gary and Pam who made their appearance two and half years after that.

“The girls shared a room and the boys shared a room,” said Pam.

John and Mary slept at the front of the house on a sofa sleeper. Their home was crowded, but they never went without. John opened his own meat market close to home in Warren, Michigan and the family helped him run it.

After she was married, Mary worked nights as a bank cashier and then as an executive secretary. She was fast at shorthand and was skilled at typing. She made a great secretary, but eventually John needed her help at the store. Taking charge of the books and accounts, Mary helped him keep the business running smoothly.

“She taught me a lot about finance,” said Pam.

Family life was interesting for Pam growing up, but always a lot fun. They had a rich family history that played a large part in family gatherings and functions. Both of Mary and John’s parents were Lebanese, and hosted ethnic family meals every Sunday. The table was filled with traditional food such as kibbeh, grape leaves, tabouli, and hummus. They even made their own Sirian bread.

The children learned about their heritage, but John and Mary made sure to teach them to prepare for the future and tackle their fears as well, including Pam’s fear of dogs.

At the age of twelve, John and Mary bought Pam a poodle who was more of a hindrance than a help. They had a hard time potty-training him and as a result, he destroyed much of their house and furniture. John and Mary didn’t give up on him though. They kept him for Pam.

“They had a lot of patience,” said Pam.

After retirement, both of their sons took over the meat market for several years, but unfortunately had to close the shop down when the bigger chain stores moved into the area.

John and Mary moved to a cottage they had purchased on Bald Eagle Lake in Ortonville, turning it from a summer getaway to a year-round home.

In 2012, Mary moved to Mendelson Home at Lourdes Senior Community where she enjoys a multitude of activities. Her favorite activity is bingo, although she also enjoys having her nails painted and making jewelry.

John Nassar passed away in 2014 after 62 years of marriage, but Mary takes comfort in the life they built together and the loving family they created. She has nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, with another great-grandchild on the way.

Looking back, Mary has no regrets and only the joy of a life well lived.

“I have no bad memories,” said Mary.

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