Mary Tateosian

October 21, 1926 ~ December 7, 2020 (age 94)


Mary C Tateosian

Mary was born on October 21, 1926 to parents Zabelle & Harry in Elmhurst, IL, outside of Chicago. She would go on to live a life epitomized by traditional midwestern values, even after moving to California.  As a young girl, she was a serious student & studied piano, living up to the high expectations set by her mother, a teacher & her father, an engraver.  She had dreams of becoming a surgeon, even at a time when options for women were limited.  After her graduation from Northwestern University in Chicago, the family moved out West, living for a time in Southern California where she followed her dream of a career in medicine, working at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.  The family eventually moved to the Bay Area where they bought a home in Redwood City and for a time Mary was even pursuing a pre-med course of study at Stanford.  She worked as a phlebotomist at Mills Hospital in San Mateo, a career she thoroughly enjoyed and would continue for many years.  

But Mary’s true path would ultimately be a more traditional one of that era, becoming the very best wife & mother.  After meeting her husband Charles through the Armenian General Benevolent Union & marrying at Stanford Chapel, they raised their family in San Francisco for almost 20 years. Mary was disenchanted with the persistent fog of the Outer Sunset and moved the family to Walnut Creek in 1974.  There she would live out the majority of her life in the sunshine, and ultimately entered into eternal rest on December 7, 2020.

She was an active member of St. John Armenian Church in San Francisco, serving in the Sunday School as teacher & superintendent, in the choir as both singer & organist, as a member in the Ladies Society and Mr & Mrs Club, and in any other capacity where she felt she could contribute. Her faith in God was unshakable and gave her strength at all times.

She was a member of the Daughters of Vartan Lodge, serving as head of her local chapter, and then as national leader. She & her husband Charles made many philanthropic trips to Armenia in support of schools there.  Through her church & lodge participation, Mary formed many lifelong friendships.

She volunteered at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek for 32 years, and said it was one of the things she enjoyed most in her life. She also contributed her fine skills as a seamstress working on costumes for local theater productions, as well as ushering at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

Mary was absolutely devoted to her children & husband. And further, outside of her home, to her community: church, schools, organizations; always participating. She was always the Mom who went on field trips, who volunteered her house for the Girl Scout Cookie drive, who participated in the School Bake Sale (usually with the tastiest item on the table!).  Her generosity was endless, had no limits, and was done in an absolute heartfelt way without thinking twice. . She was selflessly devoted to others, and shied away from recognition; It was just part of who she was.

Her talents were limitless--an excellent seamstress, an exceptional cook, known for her legendary baking skills, a superb crafter and extraordinary gardener.  She transformed the family’s 1-acre property in Walnut Creek into an oasis that included fruit trees & her prized roses.  She would spend endless hours tending to her masterpiece which gave her so much joy, often referring to it as her therapy!  Her daughter often said, “She was Martha Stewart even before Martha Stewart was Martha Stewart.”

She loved to travel, and visited many states in America as well as countries around the world, including Armenia, Italy, France, Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Mexico, Panama, Canada & Japan.  She was an agreeable & enthusiastic travel partner, always curious and up for any new adventures.

Mary always maintained her sweet demeanor, even after Alzheimers crept in and chiseled away at her memories.  In her last years she was a joy to care for, with her easygoing nature & witty comments.

She leaves behind an inspiring legacy and a great hole that will easily be filled with gratitude for all she did and a mountain of happy memories she helped make.  Mary wrote in a journal 13 years ago:  “If I have been of help, comfort, friend, or otherwise a good companion, then I have done the best I could.”  

She was preceded in death this year by her husband of almost 65 years, Charles J. Tateosian.  She is survived by her children:  son David Tateosian, his wife Mae Tateosian & grandson Harrison Tateosian of Martinez, daughters Cathy Tateosian of Walnut Creek & Lisa Tateosian of Oakland.  In addition, her sister-in-law Ruby Topoozian & husband Joe of Selma, CA and cousin Isabelle Dokouzian of San Francisco.  At Mary’s request, there will be no service, and due to Covid concerns the family will only hold a very small, simple gathering at this time,  A celebration of Charlie’s & Mary’s lives will be held at a later date when we emerge from the Covid crisis.

Mary requested any donations in her memory go to the following: St John Armenian Church of San Francisco,; Daughters of Vartan, c/o David Tateosian, 1155-C Arnold Drive, #447, Martinez, CA  94553; or charity of your choice.

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