Mary Ann Forrester, January 26, 2021 after a battle with cancer. She leaves behind a loving and dedicated husband, John M. Holmes of Valley City, Ohio. Mary Ann follows her parents, Frederic John Forrester and Margaret Ann Forrester (nee Pitonyak) in passing. She was the oldest of nine children and leaves behind Eileen of Verona, PA; Rick (Linda) of Canonsburg. PA; Joe (Adriana) of Alexandria, VA; Betty (Bill Bartos) of Rockford, IL; Dr. Patricia of Fenton, MI; Kathleen (Daniel Plott) of Tomball, TX; Tom (Paula) of Cohasset, MA; and Tim (Brittany) of Bloomfield Hills, MI. Mary Ann (aunt “Nan”) also leaves behind countless nieces and nephews, cousins, and many more extended family members. While Mary Ann did not have biological children, her siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends would state that she was a mother to all.
Born in Evanston, IL, Mary Ann was a Christmas gift to her parents that never stopped giving. She made long lasting friends and relationships from her youth and throughout her life, as a testament to her approachable, caring personality as well as her adaptability to relate to all ages and backgrounds. Mary Ann graduated from Marietta High School in Marietta, OH in 1974 and took great pride in being a drum major for two years. She matriculated at Kent State University and graduated with a degree in Nursing in 1978, following her mother in her profession. One of her summer “internships” was caring for her ailing paternal grandfather in his declining health.
What stirred Mary Ann’s passion, was not necessarily just caring for others, but specifically children as she joined Akron Children’s Hospital after graduation, where she worked 37 of her 42-year career as a pediatric nurse. She became head nurse on the pediatric ICO unit at 28, evidencing her passion as well as her unparalleled ability to execute. In the course of her duties, she became heavily involved with fire departments and emergency services and many others across the state due to her expertise and her effective delivery in the care of those most at risk. Throughout her life she was a highly sought-after speaker because of her compassion, empathy and her ability to relate to patients and other caregivers. She made the complex simple and tangible—her daily routines and discussions were teaching moments, and people gravitated to her to learn and become better. Her commitment and mothering to fire and emergency services was her 24/7 vocation; she saw beauty and value in everyone she came across…and you felt it. They all became family to Mary Ann.
Her thirst for knowledge and unending inclination to serve is evidenced by her choice to become a medic later in life to provide additional opportunities to help others. She qualified to become an EMT in 1997, an EMS instructor in 1999, a paramedic in 2005, and a firefighter in 2019. Education, care and passion never stopped.
She has been a proud member of the Valley City Fire Department for over 15 years to add to her commitment as an RN for 42 years. And until the end, Mary Ann was a servant to all, even scheming (and succeeding) to teach a class or two, as recently as November 2020. The gift that kept on giving.
Within her personal life, she was always known and will always be remembered for being the “fun” aunt. There were no bounds to Mary Ann being the pied piper for her nieces and nephews, leading them on adventures and outings. She was the elder statesman of the siblings and cousins and the person one would turn to for the empathetic ear. Mary Ann’s caring eyes would routinely direct and support solutions.
What completed Mary Ann was her soulmate, John. With John, Mary Ann became more giving, compassionate, and dedicated. Their marriage in 2007 culminated a mutual commitment to one another and as she recently recounted, was the “happiest day of her life”. That happiness continued throughout, including their beloved Indie.
Mary Ann had a passion for life, travel, and family. Her service to all family, friends, firefighters, emergency workers, medical professionals, and anyone who she could meet, defined her extended family. She quickly became a friend to all and was a fierce and protective friend.
The constant laughter, love and support of others, being “Mary Sunshine” as her mother called her, is what all will miss.
All services have been deferred until the time is acceptable for everyone's safety to gather and celebrate Mary Ann's life properly in style.
In lieu of flowers, Mary Ann and John request donations or honorary gifts be directed to either of the following support organizations:
The Bob Denton Safety Forces Support Center
501 West Market Street, Suite 313
Akron, Ohio 44032
The Valley City Fire Association
P.O. Box 318
Valley City, Ohio 44280
To plant a tree in memory of Mary Ann Forrester, please click here.