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Maria ‘Mari” M. Courtney gently joined the angels on October 21, 2023, after an incredibly courageous battle with cancer. Maria loved and fully lived every moment of life. Her faith was tremendous, never once failing, after completing five treatments over seven years.
Maria was the beloved wife of Joseph C. Courtney and adoring mother to her son Samuel J. Courtney who she loved endlessly. She will be ever present in their lives along with her sister, Juanita Jasso (Luis); brother, Felipe (Araceli); her sister-in-law, Julie Nowak (James); and her nieces and nephews, Trevor, Andrew, and Alexandra Nowak; Travis and Christopher Herrick; Alex and Vanessa Jasso; and Madelyn and Daniel Gallegos; her Aunt Aurora and Cousin Felipe, along with many other friends who were like family.
Maria was born to Juanita Morales Vallejo and Samuel Gallegos on July 22, 1973, in Aurora, Illinois. Maria’s father, Samuel, is on his last days of hospice and will join her for eternity. Maria was his primary caregiver until recently.
Maria graduated from Aurora East High School in 1992 and went on to earn her associate’s degree in paralegal studies. Maria worked for the Aurora Police Department as a 911 dispatcher and then in the records department for 23 years. One of her proudest moments was being honored at a ceremony to recognize her service with the police department. Maria’s work friends were family to her. She enjoyed many great times with her Aurora PD friends.
To know Maria was to be her friend. Her smile and laugh were ever present, and her beautiful brown eyes lit up when she told stories or shared her recipes.
Maria’s 50th birthday celebration this summer had all her favorites- lots of pink, authentic Mexican food and a homemade cake made by her Aunt Aurora from Mexico, a pinata, and most importantly, her family and friends. Maria found immense joy in cooking for friends and family. Her salsa, guacamole, chicken tinga, and tamales were famous to all who knew her!
Maria loved talking on the phone with her sister, Juani, who lives in Texas, several times a day. They also enjoyed visiting each other and exploring Chicago landmarks and shopping at Buc-ee’s in Texas.
Maria enjoyed helping at Sam’s school, Parkview Christian Academy, making meals and volunteering for school activities. Sam’s favorite memory is her accompanying him on a school trip to Springfield last year. The family is ever grateful to the Parkview community for their endless support including prayer vigils, delivering meals, providing lunches for Sam, and offering transportation to soccer when needed. Sam’s friends and their families have been an extra source of support and care.
Maria did not slow down very often but on days when she needed a “mini rest” as she called it, she was sure to be watching the Food Network or the Hallmark Channel. Maria loved being a Mary Kay consultant, mostly because it allowed her to connect with others.
Maria was at her happiest when she was helping others. During the holidays, she adopted an entire senior living center. She brought Sam and his friends to be “elves” and delivered gifts to two hundred residents. She also assisted Josephine, a woman who is blind and deaf, by visiting with her and taking her meals.
Maria found great solace in attending services at Harvest New Beginnings Church and was comforted by visits from the care team and Pastor Scott Poling. The support from Unity Hospice, especially, Hannah, John and Brittany, treated Maria with dignity and love. The doctors and nurses at University of Chicago, especially Dr. Stadler, found clinical trials and other medical treatments that helped her achieve her goal of seeing Sam grow up for as long as possible.
If you wish, please consider wearing pink to the services. Pink was Maria’s favorite color and reflects her bright, fun, loving, and positive approach to life.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to a GoFundMe established to help support Joe and Sam during this very challenging time.
Visitation will take place Friday, October 27, 2023 from 3:00-9:00 p.m. at Bauman Family Funeral Home 5600 Route 34 in Oswego, Il. 60543. Funeral Service Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 10:00 a.m at the funeral home. Family and friends are invited to begin arriving at 9:00 a.m. Interment will be private.