Mary Cathleen (Hanley) Wydock, died on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at the hospital in Kokomo. She was 53. A long-time resident of Peru, Indiana, Mary was born, the eighth of ten children, to Martin Francis and Dorothy Louise (Bear) Hanley in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 24, 1968.
Even as a baby, Mary’s joyous and inquisitive nature shown through in her big, brilliant smile, huge, beautiful eyes, and infectious laughter. These were life-long attributes.
She spent her youth surrounded by her big family and was fierce in her love for her parents and siblings. And although Mary’s love for her Hanley family meant the world to her, she was not complete until she met and married the love of her life, Bob Wydock, and until she became a mother, a dream that was realized when she was blessed with Bobby and Izzy.
Mary’s family lived in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis when she was born, and there, she attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic grade school. In 1977, the Hanleys moved to Fountaintown, Indiana, where Mary attended Morristown’s elementary and high schools.
She worked in the Fountaintown Grocery, which was owned by her parents, but Mary’s first official job was babysitting, an occupation for which she was uniquely well-suited, given her intrinsic love of babies and children and her acute ability to connect with, nurture, and protect young people. She babysat – often with her sisters Ann and Bridget in tow – for so many kids when she was a teenager and young adult, but she cared for and formed the most lasting connection with the Land family. By no means did Mary’s nurturing end there though.
Her nephews, Martin, Brian, and Michael, spent countless hours under Mary’s loving care, and her home was always open to, and a gathering place for, her nieces and nephews, many of whom spent at least part of every school vacation and holiday with Mary (and later with both Mary and Bob). All carry fond memories of these visits, during which they’d watch movies, play cards, bake cookies, and just catch up. They also remember Mary always “rockin’ out” to loud music, which no doubt included her eclectic musical loves: Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, and James Taylor, among others. Mary’s youngest sister Bridget shares many of these same experiences, having slept on Mary’s (and later Mary and Bob’s) couch too many times to count during her own youth. Mary filled the shoes of a big sister with ease, expertly performing the balancing act of being the protector and chaperone of Bridget and many of her high school friends while simultaneously contributing to their delinquency.
In 1991, Mary met the man who would become Her Heart: Bob Wydock. At the time, Mary was working at Little Caesars, and Bob assumed the management role at her store when the usual manager was off on medical leave. Mary complained incessantly about Bob for months and was counting down the days until the former boss would return. She was devastated when Little Caesars decided to give Bob permanent management of her store, and she wasn’t sure she could continue to work there! But then, slowly, but surely, Mary came to understand that the love of her life was already right there with her, every day – a place that he would continue to hold for three decades to come.
Mary loved to tell the story of how she hated Bob when they first met. It was a story that few who didn’t know them at the time could believe, considering how in sync and inseparable these soulmates became.
Mary was, truth to tell, a little bit of an introvert back then. Anyone who came to know her later would find that terribly hard to believe, but she absolutely hated to answer the phone and take pizza orders. Bob would have to tell her that everybody answers the phone and everybody talks to the customers. That pushed Mary so far out of her comfort zone that she wrote in her diary how much she hated the new manager and just couldn’t wait until he left. But, time passed and Mary began to think that maybe Bob was not such a bad guy after all.
On July 15, 1995, Mary and Bob were married in a park in Franklin, Indiana. The day would set the tone for their wonderous, married life together. There had been storms the night before and it continued to be a dark and cloudy day. Parts of the park were flooded and there was mud everywhere. Mary got stuck behind a bicycle race and was late to her wedding. But, during the ceremony, the sun came out and shone down upon them as though God Himself was blessing their union. As soon as the ceremony was finished, the clouds moved in and the thunder rumbled in the background. Everyone laughed, ran to the vehicles, and the reception was suddenly and quite spontaneously held at her brother Anthony’s house. This set the stage for their married life: plenty of drama and laughter.
Mary wanted more than anything to be a mother, and that dream was realized through her relationship with her “bonus” son Robert (Bobby), who was 13 when she and Bob married, and with the birth of her daughter, Elizabeth (Izzy), in 2001.
Even after motherhood, Mary continued to be a guiding force in the lives of other children and young people, too, including Bobby and Izzy’s friends, kids in the neighborhood, and too many others to recount. Mary’s ability to connect with and mentor young people was due in no small part to her own youthful enthusiasm. She had an unabashedly joyous approach to life and all the possibilities it holds as well as an empathetic and understanding nature. Her youthful spirit made her special and memorable to so many people, and is also the reason that “sweetheart” is one of the most common ways in which so many have always described Mary.
Though Mary didn’t possess a great deal of formal education, she was one smart cookie, and had a salt-of-the-earth or homespun disposition that helped her form and maintain connections with people from all walks of life. She made friends everywhere she went and came to know so much about every person with whom she connected. These are traits she shared with her parents. Mary proudly accepted that she had her dad’s temper and her mom’s ability to hold a grudge, too, but she also had her mom’s gracious ability to forgive, even with those that left her with lasting and painful scars. Although she sometimes grappled with forgiveness herself, she tried to impart lessons about the importance of forgiveness and acceptance to each and every one of the children for whom she cared. She wholeheartedly believed in loving people for who they are, shortcomings and all.
Mary loved to laugh, and was a joy to laugh with, more traits that she shared with her mother. And she had her dad’s ability to remember details, which was evident in her ability to recall everyone’s birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and she never missed the chance to wish someone joy and happiness on their special day!
Mary loved parties and social gatherings and looked forward to spending time with friends and family, but home was her bliss, because that’s where Bob and Izzy were. She was intensely proud of both of her children and loved watching them grow and blossom. She took tremendous joy in sharing the news of their achievements with others.
Mary loved keeping in touch with friends and family, near and far. She reveled in learning new things. She loved a good love story, and was addicted to CBS’s soap operas when she was young. She loved music and singing, and was thrilled to discover new songs and performers – regardless of genre – that touched her soul or tugged on her heartstrings. She loved to play euchre and other games and was quite competitive. She liked watching professional football and yelling at the T.V. She LOVED her Cincinnati Reds. She loved watching boxing matches with her father, and was happy to just sit, talk, and LAUGH with her mother, and laugh they did! She treasured her time with her brothers and sisters, including her honorary brother, Dan Brunk, no matter what they were doing. She sometimes fought like a banshee with her brothers and sisters, and with others in the family, too, but she also fought even harder for ANY family member when she felt it necessary, for any reason whatsoever, because family was everything to Mary!
That focus on family was precisely why Mary enjoyed genealogy so much, why she was so elated at the birth of each new niece or nephew, and so happy with the addition of every boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé/spouse to the big family picture. She loved telling people about her family, and she was, at her core, a romantic. She was thrilled when she felt one of her family members had found true love. That’s because she, herself, understood just how amazing true love is. After all, that is what she found with her best friend, lover, and husband, Bob – Her Heart.
Mary was sensitive and emotional. She was quick to tears and to laughter, and often just as fast on the trigger with her temper. She wore her heart on her sleeve, but was also as tough as nails. She loved to celebrate and complain. She could be dramatic and demanding, but was also steady and pragmatic. Mary was as real as they come. She was who she was and never apologized for it!
Her absence makes us incomplete and we will love and miss her always. Mary was, however, also a force of nature, and just like Mother Nature, her influence will never be diminished. She is forever with and a part of us.
Mary is survived by her husband, Robert L. Wydock, Jr., her daughter Elizabeth Wydock of Peru, IN, and her son Robert L. (Angel) Wydock, III, of Anderson, IN; her grandchildren, Robert Wydock, IV, Hayden Bell, Arabella Wydock, and Rose Wydock, all of Anderson, IN; her siblings, Kevin Hanley of Indianapolis, IN, Dennis (Lisa) Hanley of Indianapolis, IN, Nora (Todd) Brant of St. Paul, IN, Margaret Hanley of Fountaintown, IN, Terence Hanley, of Athens, OH, Anthony (Christina) Hanley of Greenwood, IN, Timothy Hanley of New Castle, IN, Ann Hanley of Peru, IN, and Bridget Hanley of Fountaintown, IN; her nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews, Christina (Damon), Xavier, Connor; Kathy, Sean, Ashley, Draven; Casey (Aaron), Galen; Sharon; Erin; Martin (Emily), Nathaniel, Serra (dec.), Jonathan, Maria, Zachary; Brian (Shannen); Michael; Amanda (Clarence); Megan (Alan), Evvie; Morgan (Martín), Ambrosio, José, Martín, Miguel; Emily (Keith); Kara (Christopher), Benjamin, Lucas; Krystin, Rylen Grace, P.J.; Glen Ethan (Bree); Tyler (Tiffany), Bentley, Gracelyn; and Joel; her father-in-law, Robert L. (Jackie) Wydock,, Sr.; brother-in-law, Kenneth Wydock; sister-in-law, Lorraine McLaughlin; and by aunts, an uncle, cousins, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Martin and Dorothy, and by her brothers-in-law, Stanley and David Wydock.
A Memorial Mass, celebrating the life of Mary Cathleen Wydock, will be held at 2:00 pm, Monday, January 17, 2022, at St. Charles Catholic Church, 58 W. 5th St., Peru, IN with Rev. Kyle Neterer officiating. We invite and encourage all to attend a get-together which will occur in the St. Charles school gymnasium immediately following the services. Food will be served and all are invited to attend.
Memorial contributions may be made through Eikenberry-Eddy Funeral Home, 84 W. Main St., Peru, IN to The ALS Association and any charity that helps out our Military Veterans. Flowers and plants are also welcomed and will help to brighten the day.
The Family wishes to thank all who have offered their love, prayers, kindness, and support, but particularly to Gretchen, Alex and Natalie, Christina, Dan, John, Tracy, Mike … There are simply too many to name, but please know that you are not forgotten and we are exceptionally grateful.
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