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Nov. 2, 1929-March 9, 2019

Mary Elizabeth (Burns) Cerise left this world on Saturday March 9, 2019 surrounded by her blessed, loving family. Mary was born on November 2, 1929 in Butte to Patrick J. and Patricia Burns. She was the second oldest of eleven children. On April 10, 1951, she married Ernest Cerise in Idaho Falls. They lived on the family ranch in Elk Park with their six rambunctious children. She later moved to Butte.

Mary enjoyed cooking and canning but her favorite hobby was sewing for her family and friends. She was an extraordinary seamstress who put her talents to work making dresses for weddings, dances, and Halloween costumes for her grandkids. In her later years Mary loved working jigsaw puzzles. Her kids and grandkids would pass the time visiting and helping her with her puzzles – somehow she always seemed to have the last piece – usually in her hand under the table. A Jane of all trades, she worked for the census bureau in 1980, the department of energy in 1982, and as a volunteer firefighter for the Elk Park Fire Department.

In 1989, Mary’s husband Ernest was diagnosed with lung cancer and until his death on June 18, 1990; she devoted her time to caring for him. During Ernest’s illness, Mary worked closely with the home health nurse and hospice workers. She was so profoundly affected by how these people helped her and Ernest handle his illness and impending death with dignity and compassion, that she became a hospice volunteer and a senior companion. In 1996, Mary received special recognition from Easter Seals/Goodwill as the “Volunteer of the Year” for the Butte District. She was also recognized by the Widowed Person Organization in 1993 and Senior Companion Program in 2003 for her outstanding service. Her compassionate caregiving continued through her late 70’s. Many of the families that she has touched throughout her life have adopted her as part of their immediate family.

Mary’s family meant the world to her and spending time with her kids and grandkids was the highlight of her life. No matter what you needed she was always just a phone call away. She enjoyed being the taxi service for her grandkids and their friends -- oh the stories they could tell.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her eldest son Ernie, son-in-law Wally Richardson, Uncle Archer Gilligan, brothers Francis and Brian Burns, sisters Margaret Burns, Joan & (Walt) Stroup, and Sharon Vingom. Sisters- in-law Carol Burns, Bev Burns, and Sandy Burns, Eva (Charlie) Bugni, Lena (Edward) Perkyl, Herminia Campbell. Brothers-in-law August Cerise, Anthony Cerise, Edward Cerise, Ted (Jenny) Cerise, Joe Cerise, Guido (Vi) Cerise, Henry Cerise.

She is survived by her children Mary Sanz – Anita & Mike Huling (Izzy & Alex), Jovina Sanz (Chris), Sariah Sanz, Ivan Sanz; Dave (Lori) Cerise – Mandy & Mike Richards (Colton, Kenzie, Kyler, & Kaedyn), Craig & Lindsey Cerise (Madison & Sydney) Joscelyn & Cody Sutton (Hailey & Ryker); Bob Cerise (Chris Walsh & daughter Ann) – Tony Cerise, Chrissi Cerise (Troy Wood) – (Byran & Soyer); Margie (Pep) Aguirre – Cody & Liz Aguirre (Matthew & Molly), Tawni Jo Aguirre & fiancé Ryan Carmody, Cameron Aguirre; and Patti Richardson – Rachel & Angie Richardson; Cindy & Chad Galbavy (Heath & Case). Siblings Sheila (Paul) Tucker, Pat (Ann) Burns, Bob Burns, Ed Burns, Patsy (Jim) Smith. Sisters-in-law Marlene Burns & Gwen Milani. Niece and dear friend Babe Bajovich. Numerous nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

The family would like to thank everyone at The Springs Memory Care Unit for the kindness and compassion they showed to Mary and her entire family throughout her stay and passing; Drs. Taverna and Yates and Highlands Hospice for everything they did for Mary.

Mom and Gram -- thank you for all the unconditional love and compassion you showed us all throughout your life. What a great mentor and blessing you were. We love you to infinity and beyond!

Services are scheduled at Duggan Dolan Funeral Home on Friday, March 22, 2019 at 1:00 P.M. with visitation at Noon. A private internment is scheduled for a later date. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Highlands Hospice or charity of donor’s choice.

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the life of: Mary Elizabeth (Burns) Cerise, 89
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