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August 30, 1950 ~ November 28, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old
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Mary Lee Saurwein (nee Ayers) passed away surrounded by family at her home following a long illness on November 28, 2023 at age 73.
Mary was born in Broadway, New Jersey on August 30, 1950, the daughter of the late Harold K. Ayers and Shirley Ayers (nee Kelly). She had three siblings – the late Harold K. Ayers Jr., the late Steven Ayers, and Susan. Mary grew up in western New Jersey graduating from Warren Hills High School in 1968. She married her first husband in 1971, and gave birth to a daughter, Shirley Kelly Beam, in 1973. That marriage ended in divorce, and her daughter tragically died in August 1975 at age 2. Mary moved to San Diego in 1976 where she met the “love-of-her-life”, John Saurwein. Mary and John married in March, 1978. Sons Jeffrey and Brian were born in January, 1984 and August 1985. Mary wanted so much to have more children after her loss of Kelly, and the day she discovered she was pregnant with Jeffrey was one of the happiest days of her life.
Mary was a devoted homemaker and a “super volunteer” spending countless hours at her sons’ schools - Hage Elementary School in Mira Mesa and Black Mountain Middle School in Rancho Penasquitos. Perhaps the most notable of her many achievements, and greatest legacy, as a school volunteer is the pedestrian bridge at the corner of Galvin St. and Black Mountain Road in Mira Mesa, which she played a major role in getting built as the representative for Hage Elementary School. The location and timely completion of this bridge ensured the safety of Hage students crossing Black Mountain Road.
Mary experienced much in her lifetime. She and John loved to travel and visited many places together - Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris, France; Hawaii; Alaska; and dozens of locales in the continental U.S. Mary enjoyed taking almost daily long walks with her friends and husband. Mary and John had a passion for visiting the National Parks, hiking in many of them in Utah and California. Mary was a dear soul who could talk to and befriend just about anyone. She also had a particular fondness for cats and cows. She was very caring and loyal to her friends, always ready to help in times of trouble. She loved to send beautiful cards with cheer-you-up notes and to make gifts of angels.
Throughout her long bout with Alzheimer’s disease, Mary was always sweet and gentle. The caregivers and hospice workers who did activities with her and helped care for her all came to adore her. The family is grateful to these individuals who made Mary’s final years better than they would otherwise have been.
Mary is survived by her husband of 45 years, John Saurwein, her sons Jeffrey and Brian; her sister Susan Regina and her life-long friend/”sister” Bonnie Hill of Easton Pennsylvania; her sister-in-law, Beth Saurwein of San Diego, with whom she was very close; nieces Becky Geary, Ryan Hill, and Erika Hill; nephews Jason Regina, and Matthew Hill; and several sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews by marriage.
A celebration of Mary’s life will be held on Friday, December 15 at California Funeral Alternatives at 1020 E. Pennsylvania Avenue, Escondido, CA from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Alzheimer’s San Diego, the San Diego Humane Society, and/or the Helen Woodward Animal Center.