June 7, 1917 – April 17, 2013
Mary Blaskovich died peacefully at her home on Wednesday, April 17 at 2:30 pm. She was 95 years old. She was born on June 7, 1917 in Olmitz, Iowa, a spirited coal-mining community in the southeast part of the state made up of European immigrant families. Mary’s parents were Anna Braida of San Colombano, Italy, and Dan Pastovich, of Zagreb, Croatia.
The family then moved to a nearby farm where Mary grew up and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Williamson, graduating from Williamson High School. Mary married John Blaskovich, a firefighter, in 1942. They moved to Des Moines and had four children: Jack, Barbara, Paul and Kathy.
Mary was a member of the Croatian Society of Des Moines and she loved Polka dancing. She was also a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and a volunteer at the Charter Community Hospital.
She was proud of being a life-long Democrat as well as her Italian and Croatian heritage. She also loved dogs, and liked telling the story of when she was a toddler learning to walk, a dog rescued her from falling off the porch by tugging on her dress. Ever since, she had a special place in her heart for dogs and mothered many throughout her life. Mary was known as the matriarch of her family, which apart from her children included seven grandkids and three great-grandkids.
She loved laughter and conversation, crocheting, and did the crossword puzzle every morning. Mary had a robust appetite for love and life and good food. She often said that she would know when her time to die had come when she no longer had an appetite. She ate a few spoonfuls of sherbet the day she died and then slipped away in her sleep, following ongoing heart trouble.
Mary was preceded in death by her sister Lela Beeson and her brother Paul, who was killed in World War II; her husband John, and her daughter Barbara (Crane).
She is survived by her children Jack Blaskovich (Cecilia) of Des Moines, Paul Blaskovich of Des Moines, and Kathy VanderLinden (Richard) of Grand Ledge, MI; her son-in-law Robert Crane of Iowa City; her grandchildren John Blaskovich III of Des Moines, Jacqueline Parmer (Bill) of Denver, CO; and Steve Blaskovich (Jen) of Omaha, NE; Michael Crane (Susan) of Chicago, IL, Kristine Crane of Gainesville, FL; Charles and Elizabeth VanderLinden of Grand Ledge, MI; and three great-grandchildren—John Blaskovich IV and Jacob Blaskovich of Des Moines and Matthew Crane of Chicago, IL.
A Vigil Service will be held at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Visitation from 6-8:00 p.m., on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Iles Funeral Homes-Westover Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 26 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Des Moines. Burial will be at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Northwest Community Center, 5110 Franklin Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310. Online condolences may be shared at Ilescares.com.
ARRANGEMENTS BY ILES FUNERAL HOMES ~ WESTOVER CHAPEL.Information provided by: Iles Funeral Homes Westover Chapel 6337 Hickman Road Des Moines, IA 50322 www.ilesfuneralhomes.com