Mary Elizabeth (nee Gnorski) Fredrickson began her lifes journey in Waukegan, Illinois on December 21, 1927. Her father was Edward Gnorski and her mother was Elizabeth Gnorski (nee Hammond). Sadly, her mother died in childbirth when she was 8 years old. Her loving uncle and aunt, John and Madeline Hammond, took her into their home in Zion.
She grew up with her cousins Ruth, John (“Bud”), and David, more like her sister and brothers. She was also very close to Ruth DeRohan’s daughter, Joy (Howard) Bennett. Bud Hammond’s son, John (Marsha) Hammond, was like a son to her. After graduating from Zion-Benton Township High School in 1945, she worked for Johnson Motors and Leader True Value Hardware. She served as secretary for the Zion District 6 Superintendent for five years. She was also elected to the Zion District 6 School Board for five years. She was elected as a precinct committeeman, garnering more votes than State Representative Adeline Jay Geo-Karis, who asked Mary to come and work for her! She married the love of her life, Burton Nels Fredrickson, on April 28, 1950, at Grace Missionary Church. Sadly, he died much too young, at age 46, from cancer. Undaunted, Mary became the breadwinner for three children, working as administrative secretary for District 126 Superintendents, Dr David Cox, Dr Richard Dreyer, and Dr Gary Fields, at Zion-Benton Township High School. She served them very well from 1970 until her retirement in 1995.
Mary was a member of Grace Missionary Church for 74 years. In 1953, she organized the nursery. She taught Sunday School for 35 years and served as AWANA Girls Director for ten years. She led the Ladies Prayer Team for ten years. She served as Deacon Board Secretary for three terms. She organized the Deaconess Board and served as a member for ten years. Mary served 72 years as a devoted member of the Zion Womans Club. After 50 years, she was awarded a Lifetime Membership. She also knit hats for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Mary was passionate about sports. She was a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs. She was the “#1 ZEE-BEE” Fan. She was an IHSA certified Girls Volleyball referee in the North Suburban Conference. She also loved the Oregon Ducks. Her nurturing nature was beautifully expressed in her lifes passion, growing flowers.
Surviving family members include her cousins Joy (Howard) Bennett and John (Marsha )Hammond; children Burton (Tracy) Fredrickson, Jon (Janet) Fredrickson, Elizabeth (Arne) Hjelmeseth; grandchildren Crystal (Matt) Christensen, Shantell (Zach) Brown, Shawn (Katie) Smith, Jacob (Nicole) Smith, Ruben Luccas, Ramon (Audrey) Cornejo, Celina Cornejo, David Schroeder, John Schroeder, Andrew (Frances) Hjelmeseth, Angela (Andrew) Stone, Rakel (John) Fairfull, Eilert (Arineh) Hjelmeseth, and Lauryn Hammond; great-grandchildren Ava Christensen, Lira Christensen, Bradley Brown, and Maverick Brown. She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Elizabeth Gnorski; husband, Burton Nels Fredrickson; and cousins, Ruth DeRohan, John “Bud” Hammond, and David Hammond.
Mary entered into her heavenly rest on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at the age of 94. She was an awesome woman of God. In her last days, she found comfort in Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Pastor Douglas Carlson will preside over her Celebration of Life on March 4, 2023 at Grace Missionary Church in Zion, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Zion Woman’s Club, Donna Poucher, 3002 N Forrest Hills Court, Wadsworth IL 60083 or Grace Missionary Church, 1415 27th Street, Zion IL 60099.