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Like a cherished diamond there were many facets to Mary, but what made her so special and so loved was not where she worked, what awards she won, nor status or fame. It was the content of her heart and her soul that cast an enormous light to shine on her world. Among her considerable qualities, those who knew Mary were especially impressed with three: her kindness, wisdom, and ability to connect with others. Her kindness was experienced by anyone with whom she had even a passing relationship as family, friends, neighbors and co-workers alike endeared her. It wasn't unusual for Mary to hug someone after meeting and speaking at length for the first time. Even near her life's end, she insisted on sending cards, gifts, prayers and caring thoughts to others. Regardless of the venue, wherever she met people, faces would brighten with fond feelings and welcoming conversation. She was especially compassionate with those less fortunate and with the elders she encountered while working in several retirement communities. Family as well as close friends were touched by her wisdom. A trait recognized by her soon-to-be-husband, Mary always seemed to know the right things to say and the best course of action regardless of the situation. Her judgment and uncanny insight never ceased to amaze. Family and friends often sought her advice as she guided many through pregnancies, parenting, and relationship challenges. Mary connected with all who knew her, making them feel comfortable and safe in their conversations and expression of innermost thoughts. As a remarkable listener she always took a keen interest in what others did and made them feel as if they were the only person in the room. What are you reading? What's your favorite food? And, what career would you choose if no one depended on your income? These were some of the questions all Mary's friends would be asked. She was a confidant who could be trusted with shared feelings and secrets. Basically an introvert, she was perfectly comfortable in large groups or at black-tie dinner parties. People sought her out and wanted to be around her gentleness and positive attitude. Many times she told her husband that she was the happiest person she knew.
Always humble, Mary weathered even the most difficult situations with remarkable grace. She had pride in her appearance, behavior and standing, always taking the righteous path even if it involved considerable time and effort. Mary was, however, a complete failure at trying to tell lies. She simply couldn't do it. Whenever the occasion called for a small 'white lie' her complexion turned red, and she was visibly shaken, exposing perhaps a feeble attempt. In mid-life Mary read a book that described four principles that if practiced would create love and happiness in one's life. It was entitled 'The Four Agreements.' For the rest of her life Mary aspired to: 1) Be impeccable with her word, 2) Don't take anything personally, 3) Don't make assumptions, and 4) Always do her best. These are far easier said than done, but Mary often reminded those close to her to try to live their lives accordingly as did she. These four principles also led to Mary's exceptional authenticity and integrity. Mary was no stranger to the Bible either, at times reading it daily, particularly in later life before her vision faltered.
All the above are some of the traits that enabled Mary to create a lifetime panorama of friends who reflected her values of compassion, honesty, personal responsibility, and hard work. Visible to all were Mary's numerous external passions. Motherhood was Mary's greatest yearning. She loved to hold her babies, watch their personalities develop, and shower them with unconditional love throughout their lives. These feelings transferred to subsequent generations, as she felt so very blessed by seven grandchildren. Even the babies of friends and neighbors received similar attention.
Cultivated by a passion for reading, Mary had a wide array of interests. Always with three books being read simultaneously, she had an amazing recall of characters, plots and authors. Copious reading from an early age also contributed to Mary's substantial vocabulary. In later life Mary's husband asked her what had been her three favorite lifetime hobbies. Her answer was: 1-cooking, 2-crafting cards and 3-quilting. From the time she was an elementary schoolgirl Mary loved cooking, her favorite activity. She would run home from school at lunchtime and watch cooking shows while she ate. Mary was an adventuresome cook, trying recipes from books, relatives, neighbors and friends. Married in the month of August, her husband vividly recalls the first time he saw a dinner repeated in their tiny apartment was the following April. Mary also loved baking, making jams and jellies, and for decades hosted various holiday family dinners. In later life Mary developed a hobby of crafting unique, handmade greeting cards. While she originally intended to turn this into a business, she invested so much time and care into each card that they became unaffordable. People who received a small quantity of these cards as gifts usually were so struck by their elegance that they couldn't part with them as intended. A few recipients even framed some.
Mary joined several quilt groups and guilds during her lifetime, but her favorite was a small group of like-minded women who in later life shared not only quilting but an array of life's issues. Like many of her activities, Mary's hand-quilting was extremely accomplished. And, true to her personality, most of her quilts were gifted to other family members or friends to commemorate marriages, christenings or birthdays. Although she began quilting in 1969, Mary never had any desire to record all the quilts she made. But her last quilt group decided to photograph and log all their works of art. Mary had to be prodded to participate, and although she had only spotty records or photographs of quilts made prior to 1980, her book of work contained photographs of more than 80 finished quilts. Mary's love, like the diamond she reflected, will influence many for generations. She left a legacy of kindness and a better way to live, influencing everyone she touched.
Mary is survived by her beloved husband of 50 years, Joseph Dittmar. She is the treasured mother of Clint J. Dittmar and his wife Shanda of Uniontown, PA; Laura E. DeSpain and her husband Lance of Cary, NC; and Gwen L. Dittmar and her husband Ed Brennan of Los Angeles, CA. Mary is the proud and loving grandmother of Madigan Dittmar, Ella Dittmar, Nathaniel Kutina, Delaney Dittmar, Penelope Kutina, Emerson Dittmar, and Grant Dittmar-Brennan.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9:45 to 10:45 AM at Saint Alphonsus Church, 1565 Temple Drive, Maple Glen, PA 19002. Mary's Funeral Mass will follow at 11:00 AM with Pastor Stephen F. Leva as Celebrant. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, it was Mary's wish that donations be made in her memory to Unite for HER, 127 East Chestnut Street, First Floor, West Chester, PA 19380 www.uniteforher.org/donate
Tributes and photos may be shared at www.UrbanFuneralHome.com
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Marry Dittmar was the kindest person I have ever known. I consider myself lucky to have known her. Condolences to the entire Dittmar family during this difficult time.
Growing up as a childhood friend of Clint, the Dittmar house was like a 2nd home. I'd often be there training in the basement, talking sports with Mr. Dittmar or having a meal with the family.
Mary always treated me as if I was part of their extended family. She was the kindest, most caring woman who always put the needs of others in front of her own.
She will always have a special place in my heart.
My condolences to Clint and the entire Dittmar family.
David J Burdge
To the Dittmar Family:
recently, Joe shared with us his memory of that magical night on which he and Mary met and danced their first dance together. That was the beginning of more than 50 years of unconditional love, amazing devotion and genuine compassion for each other. Theirs was truly a marriage made in heaven... where Mary deservedly rests.
with our unending love, Rhonda and Joe Queenan
I have known Mary for 51 years. She has truly been my best and closest friend. We shared a lifetime of "girl talk", whether it was recipes, childrearing ideas, handicrafts, knitting and quilting patterns, all the things we both enjoyed doing together. I'll never forget how she taught me to make strawberry jam all those years ago. These memories will keep me going. I know for sure that Mary is in heaven and hopefully I will meet up with her again someday. My deepest condolences to Joe, Clint, Laura and Gwen.
In one's life there are usually a few very special people that stand out above all others. Mary was one of those people, and I will miss her dearly. Her friendship was both a gift and a blessing. She was someone whose personal warmth, kindness and caring were magnetic. She was one of the most authentic people I've had the pleasure to have known. I loved laughing with Mary, and she could literally bring tears to my eyes with her wit and her ability to bring humor to everyday situations. As sick as she was, Mary still had the ability to make me laugh not long ago in a brief phone conversation. But then, that was Mary. Always concerned about others. Always giving with all her heart. When Mary conversed with you, it was as though she could look into your very soul. She always seemed to know just what to say or how to let you know how much you mattered. She was such a bright light, and she will be missed by so many. My thoughts and prayers are with Joe and all of her family at this time. Mary Dittmar - so lovely, so loved.
I can’t even begin to imagine life without Mary. She was one special person that can never be duplicated. I’ve known Mary for 15 years and have thoroughly enjoyed every single moment I ever got the privilege of spending with her. We shared so many laughs and tears through all of this. I have no idea how I will go on without her love, gentle words, and kind advice. There will be a void in my life that can never be filled. Everyone who ever met her, loved her. That was just MARY. She never spoke a bad word about anyone. She found the good in everyone. I was blessed and honored to be a part of her life and her family’s life. You all will be forever in my prayers. Love, Maureen
So sorry to hear about Mary's passing. My condolences to the entire family for this tremendous loss. Mary was truly a beautiful person, inside and out. She never failed to show love and caring every time I had the privilege of seeing her when she'd visit North Carolina. I always remember that delicious baked oatmeal she invited me over for! :) Peaceful rest, sweet lady. Prayers for strength to Joe.
Hello just wanted to say Mary was a beautiful person on the inside and out, You don't meet many Mary,s in your lifetime Her children and Joe were blessed to have her RIP Mary.
Joe and Mary … two of the kindest people we’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Their love for each other was so evident when you were with them, or if you were fortunate enough to share in one of Joe’s stories about their courtship and life together.
Mary would most likely have been too modest to admit it, but she exemplified Proverbs 31:
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
We really hit the jackpot with Mary and Joe as neighbors when we moved into our home 4 years ago. The bond and friendship was immediate and sincere. Always remembering my kids every holiday and often providing treats for them on any given day. My kids adored Mary unfortunately my youngest son did not have the chance to get to know Mary however she did knit him a beautiful sweater that I hold dear to my heart (photo found in the gallery). Our dog often would run down to greet her if she was outside admiring her flowers or hanging clothes on the line.We are so blessed to have known Mary and Joe for the past 4 years. She is and always will be a special lady to us. Mary left such a beautiful impression on us that will last a lifetime we miss her dearly. We love you Mary (and Joe). Until we meet again.
Mike, Kim, Michael, Elaina and Frankie and Dawkins
The beautiful sweater Mary knitted for my son
The beautiful sweater Mary knitted for Frankie
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