Mary Fritch Quetsch

January 31, 1932February 11, 2018
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Mary Fritch Quetsch, of McLean, VA, passed away on Sunday, February 11, 2018 in Falls Church, Virginia after complications from colon cancer. Born on January 31, 1932 to Martin Shanabarger of Peru, IN and Mabel Adams of Roanoke, VA, she was named Helen. Mabel Adams fell ill during the Great Depression, and Martin, unable to work and care for two babies, placed Helen and her brother (one year older) in St Vincent’s Villa orphanage. At age 2, she was adopted by Louis C. Fritch and Zula Schaefer Fritch of South Bend, IN and given the name Mary Alice. Her new parents returned a week later intending to adopt her brother, but he had already been adopted. Mary did not learn of her brother, renamed Edward Rogers, until she was 21. They met at that time and stayed close thereafter.

Mary was given a baby grand piano at age 5 by her grandfather and became a very accomplished pianist, winning several awards. Mary attended Saint Mary’s Academy for girls in South Bend, IN from kindergarten thru high school, then earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Philosophy from Saint Mary’s College. After graduation, Mary married the love of her life, John Ruxton (Jack) Quetsch, a Notre Dame graduate, after a long courtship. While Jack was deployed during the Korean war, Mary remained in South Bend, working as a switchboard operator. Upon leaving Korea, Jack took a position in Washington, D.C. with the Dept of the Navy, and he moved with Mary to Virginia.

Over the course of 15 years, from 1955 to 1969, Mary gave birth to seven children: John L. Quetsch, Lawrence J. Quetsch, Paul L. Quetsch, James M. Quetsch, Martha Q. Kiesel, Joseph A. Quetsch and Mary G. Quetsch. Mary also had 13 grandchildren: David J. Quetsch, Megan K. Quetsch, Joseph W. Quetsch, Benjamin F. Kiesel, Anne K. Quetsch, Christine M. Quetsch, Catherine A. Kiesel, Brien R. Quetsch, Emily S. Gaetjen, Anna E. Gaetjen, Laura M. Kiesel, Michael J. Quetsch, and Abigail M. Gaetjen.

Mary was a loving and caring mother, with extraordinary common sense and emotional strength. She was a very dedicated wife, whose love and family devotion helped Jack achieve great success within the Department of Defense. A devout Catholic, Mary awoke early every morning for prayer and reflection, and found refuge daily in playing the piano. Mary was also the parish organist for many years, sang in the choir, and contributed much of her time to parish and charitable activities at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church. Mary was loved and will be missed by all.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to


  • Visitation Friday, February 16, 2018

Mary Fritch Quetsch

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February 24, 2018

Thank you all for your kind remembrances. One of my mothers greatest traits was her smile an her love of friendships and family. You all made her life complete, she loved making friends❤

james rizik

February 16, 2018

To all the Quetsch's: I have very, very fond memories of Mary growing up and through my adulthood. May she rest in peace. Jamie Rizik

Nora Spring Foley

February 16, 2018

Mrs. Quetsch, you will be forever in my heart. Thank you for your love, your quick wit and always your spot-on advise. My deepest sympathy to the Quetsch family.

Bob & Jean Quetsch

February 15, 2018

To all our Virginia cousins, first let us say how sorry we are for your loss. Aunt Mary will certainly be missed. While we did not see her often in recent years, we do have fond memories. We enjoyed our time together at family reunions and other family events. We have wonderful memories of our trip to VA and the time spent visiting with your Mom on the porch after dinner. With the fountain bubbling in the background and the fan running above us, it was so peaceful and relaxing. Please know that our thoughts will be with all of you in these coming days. Much love to all of you.

Anne Barry Weber

February 14, 2018

Godspeed, Aunt Mary - much loved by her Missouri niece and nephews. We mourn her passing and send condolences and fond memories to all our Virginia cousins. I will never forget our Virginia Beach vacation with all of you. Trudy felt Aunt Mary was the sister she never had, and we could always count on news from the east when we saw Trudy. I like to imagine a joyous reunion happening now in Heaven. Sorry for your loss here, and much love to all...

Ellen Frank Gede

February 13, 2018

To the Quetsch Family, John, Paul, Larry, Jim, Martha, & Mary,

We are so sorry to hear the sad news. Your mom was an amazing friend to my mother, Carryl Frank, for so many years. They shared so many social gatherings together. In more recent years, we appreciated your help in getting your mom to make the commute from Virginia into Maryland to see my mom, and we appreciate the vacations my mom and your mom went on together because of your help.