Newburyport, MA — Mary (Rodda) Patzke of Newburyport died suddenly Friday evening, November 22, 2013, during a brief stay at the Anna Jaques Hospital. Several family members were by her side when she passed away.
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mary Patzke was one of four children of the late Melville and Anna (Tieman) Rodda, and the wife of Herbert Karl Patzke of Danzig, Germany, who had predeceased her in 1979. She was also predeceased by her brother, Melville "Butch" Rodda who died while serving his country during World War II; her sister, Elizabeth “Betty” Rodda Hulse; and her brother-in-law, Donald Eckel.
Mary worked at Western Electric/AT&T in North Andover for two decades in the Crystal Room, the Thin Film area, and finally the Packing Room from which she retired. Anyone who knew Mary could attest to her strong work ethic, a characteristic she shared with her husband, Herb, and something they passed along to their children and then their grandchildren.
There was nothing Mary wouldn’t tackle — stripping and refinishing furniture, replacing drippy faucets, and even doing her own sidewalk repairs. She wasn’t one to sit around and waste time. She couldn’t just keep up with the best of them, she’d run rings around them and leave them standing in the dust. And you didn’t have to guess where you stood with Mary, because there was nothing she wouldn’t tell you if she had a mind to.
She was devoted to her family and friends and thought nothing of helping them in times of need. Her house was the gathering place for family celebrations and holidays. She spent decades cooking the meals for the gang as well as opening her home to the race car set. When you went home, she handed you a packed lunch. And there was always a bowl of meatballs and sauce in her fridge. Right up until the day she died, she was busy mending her family’s clothes, playing cards with her friends, and clearing her yard of the fallen leaves — even bagging them and dragging them out to the street.