URBANA — Mary Ellen Sronce died peacefully with family present on Wednesday, November 20, from complications after hip surgery subsequent to a fall. She was 92. She lived a full and vital life, touching many people along the way. She was affectionately known to many friends and family as “Mo,” a …read more
URBANA — Mary Ellen Sronce died peacefully with family present on Wednesday, November 20, from complications after hip surgery subsequent to a fall. She was 92. She lived a full and vital life, touching many people along the way. She was affectionately known to many friends and family as “Mo,” a name given to her by her grandchildren.
She was born in Cairo, Illinois, in 1927 and grew up in Springfield, the eldest of six children. Her brothers Jim, Joe and Jack Nelson preceded her in death. Her sisters Pat and Cindy survive.
She married Lawrence Walter Sronce in 1948. Tragically, her husband became ill and died in 1957 leaving her with four children ages eight and under. She moved her young family from Springfield to Urbana and enrolled in the University of Illinois, completed her bachelor’s and earned a master’s degree while living in the federal housing project on North Broadway.
She went on to have a successful career teaching at Bottenfield in Champaign and Leal in Urbana. Later she ran a teachers center with Margie Lerch for the Urbana school district, all while being a single parent. When people would ask “How did you do it?” she would simply say “What else would I do?”
She had a clear understanding of the right and necessary things to do in life and how to treat people. And she lived accordingly. Many thought her life story heroic.
She suffered more tragic loss when her younger son, Greg, died at 28, her son-in law Tom Kelly at 49 and her older daughter, Lauren Sronce Ducey, at 64. These losses were devastating but bonded a tight family even tighter each time.
She will be deeply missed by her son, Garry, and his wife, Kathy, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and their sons, Greg and Joel; her daughter, Lynn Kelly, of Urbana and her sons, Matthew and Daniel; her son-in-law, Roch Ducey, of Champaign and his daughters, Meghan and Kate; Greg’s wife, Jane Sronce McIver, of Hillsborough, North Carolina; her sisters, Pat McGee of Colorado and Cindy Farley of Creve Coeur, Missouri; her seven great-grandchildren; and her many friends.
She loved us deeply and gave us a path to follow.
A memorial service will be held at Clark-Lindsey Village, 101 W. Windsor Rd., Urbana, at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. Morgan Memorial Home of Savoy assisted with arrangements.hide