Mary Lou Zdanovich

October 21, 1931September 21, 2021

Mary Lou Shiel Zdanovich, age 89, born in Boston, bred in Brookline, and retired in Brewster, passed away peacefully on September 21st. She was the beloved wife of Joseph M. Zdanovich and the cherished mother of eight children Michael, Serge, Darcia, Nadine, Alicia, Victoria, Tanya (deceased), and Alexandra, and grandmother of twelve, Alexander, Andrew, Beatrice, Oliver, Sofia, Kimberly, Joseph, Emily, Michael, Benjamin, Nicholas, and Lucy.

Mary Lou attended St Mary’s High School in Brookline, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in education from Framingham State Teacher’s College. She married Joe in 1954 during Hurricane Edna. Joe was one of her brother's friends at Boston College at that time. Joe said that it was love at first sight.

Mary Lou loved the performing arts and brought her children to the Brookline Arts Center, and to local plays and concerts. She loved doing craft projects at home, including quilting. decorative painting, and decorating her home.

In 1965, she and Joe took the family to see a host of national parks, including Yellowstone and Shenandoah, in their newly acquired camper. They continued camping up in Maine and New Hampshire during the summers that followed and subsequently joined the Appalachian Mountain Club, where they attended August Camp for many years.

She was an avid international traveler, having visited her parent’s native Ireland several times, traveling to Russia with a choir group ,and going on the Trans-Siberian Express across Russia. She was able to attend her son’s wedding in Japan, and she visited another daughter in England and France. She also traveled throughout the United States with her husband on Elder Hostels trips, cumulatively to over 50 destinations, including Hawaii and Alaska.

Arriving in Brewster, and being a very sociable person, Mary Lou made many friends in the local community. She and her husband regularly attended Our Lady of the Cape Church, and she became a member of the church's Lady’s Guild. She also volunteered at the Brewster Swap Shop and was a member of the Polish Club. Mary Lou and Joe frequented Council on Aging events and could be found there many days during the week. . Mary Lou was the "grande dame" and matriarch of her family, and was always happy to give advice. She loved conversation, flowers and food, and hosted several Russian Orthodox Easter parties when living in Brookline.

A Funeral Mass will be held this Friday, September 24th at Our Lady of the Cape, 468 Stony Brook Rd, Brewster, MA 02631 at 11AM. Burial at Massachusetts National Cemetery will be private. For online condolences, please visit


  • Funeral Mass

    Friday, September 24, 2021


Mary Lou Zdanovich

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October 7, 2021

Ron said it all: a legend in her own time. Joe, our hearts go out to you and the family.

- Lucilla & Stas

Julie Tomasini

September 24, 2021

My sympathy to you Joe and Family.

I knew Mary Lou at our computer forum class, where she always sat front and center. Some classes must have been boring, because I’d have to tap her as she caught her afternoon snooze. Many times we were caught chatting it up. We really enjoyed our computer group summer picnics too. Will miss you my friend, won’t be able to wait for you so we could ride the elevator together.

Julie Tomasini

Denise Rego

September 24, 2021

We are saddened at the news of Mary Lou's passing. Mary Lou and Joe were a very big part of our daily lives here at the Brewster Senior Center, as they came in everyday for a good hot meal. We have fond memories of Mary Lou who was loved by all she encountered, she loved to sit and talk and always enjoyed a good piece of cake! Our deepest sympathies to you Joe and your family.
Brewster COA Staff

Ron Gochakowski

September 23, 2021

"Larger than life" is a saying used quite often, maybe used so much that it loses it true meaning. When I first joined up with this family, I was told about Mary Lou. Mostly about how she would come down hard on me, that she would speak her mind, without filter. So when I first met her, I was on guard. But you know what? That was not necessary. She talked to me as an equal, not as a lesser person. She kidded with me, in that "charming" Irish way that she had. She got serious with me as well, when called for. I left that first visit with her smiling, saying to myself "not bad". As I got to know her and the family over the years, she didn't change one bit. Not as if she could have; she was who she was, without shame or apology. I cannot recall a single time where she talked down to me, insulted, or treated me disrespectfully. When Joseph was born, I could hear and see the happiness in her, which I never forgot. When I got sick and things looked bleak, she took the time to pray for me, and check up on me every week. Whenever she called, she made a point to ask how I was doing, usually with a kind word and an Irish wisecrack. Even at the end, when things took a bad turn, she never changed. In many ways, she was like a surrogate mother to me. No one could have asked for a better mother in law. Or mother. Or wife. Or friend. Her legacy will be in her honest words, her rapier wit, her years of experience, the caring and honest attention she gave to everyone, and the love she showed to family and friends. So yeah, I guess Mary Lou was "larger than life". And she will always be so.

Maureen Steinmann

September 23, 2021

To Joe and all of Mary Lou's family I send my heartfelt condolences. Such an amazing, engaging, intelligent, caring and fun woman to have as a friend. Didn't see Mary Lou or Joe often but that special bond was always there. May your many memories bring you peace and a sense of joy knowing Mary Lou's life was a life well lived. May God bless you all. Maureen Steinmann

John and Eden Kyne

September 22, 2021

Joe, we are so sorry to hear of Mary Lou's passing. Although we have only known you a few years, we have loved meeting and talking with you both. Mary Lou's spirit and energy will be missed, but we are so happy to have had this time to get to know her.

~John and Eden

Very Rev. John T. Bacon

September 22, 2021

To Joe and all the family members,

Please accept my sincerest sympathy. I am very sorry for your loss.

May Mary Lou's memory be eternal! May her soul dwell with the blessed.

Father John
An old friend of Joe's, formerly of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Boston

The Very Rev. Archpriest John T. Bacon
St. Mark's Orthodox Church, Kingston, MA