Mary A. Tarka, 96, of Cardale, died Tuesday, June 11, 2019, following a brief illness. She was born August 31, 1922, in Tower Hill, a daughter of the late George and Helen Gasporovic Ratesic. She was also predeceased by her husband, Stanley M. Tarka, Sr.; son Theodore; sisters Dorothy and Helen; and brothers Joseph, George and Ivan.
Mary graduated from Redstone High School in 1940 and began working at the Chocolate Shoppe in Republic. While working her next sales position in Brownsville, she met her future husband, Stanley Tarka. They were married May 21, 1946, and were together until his death in 1998. They raised five children, all first-generation college graduates.
Mary had a long career with the United States Postal Service, retiring in 1988 as postmaster after nearly 30 years of service.
Mary was a lifelong member of the Church of the Madonna in Cardale and a charter member of its Christian Mothers Society. She also enjoyed serving in the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary for many years.
Her love of flower and vegetable gardening, cooking and baking for her family, and caring for others brought her great joy and purpose in her life. Mary's faith and optimism carried her family through many difficult times. She was the best mother and grandmother one could wish for and remembered all birthdays and special occasions of those she loved.
She is survived by four children, Thomas (Joan) Tarka Sr. of Havertown, Dr. Stanley (Laurell) Tarka Jr. of Carlisle, Dr. Barbara Leonard of Johns Island, S.C., and Raymond (Denise) Tarka of Houston, Texas. She leaves a legacy of 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren to carry on her spirit and her love of this world.
Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 16, and until 9:30 a.m. Monday, June 17, in the KISH-FABRY FUNERAL HOME, INC., 19 Legion Street, Republic, where Prayers of Transfer will be held. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in Saint Francis of Assisi Church, (Footedale Worship Site). Interment will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery, Cardale.
In lieu of flowers or other tokens of sympathy, the family suggests donations be made to the Stanley and Mary Tarka Scholarship Fund, Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.
Condolences are welcome at kish-fabry.com.