Mary Sundt, 79
Longtime Eagle River resident Mary Sundt, 79, lost her battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on March 25th, 2014. She passed peacefully in her home, surrounded by loving friends and family. Per her wishes her ashes will be scattered on the property where she lived for the past 52 years, alongside the ashes of her husband.
A celebration of life will be from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, April 13 at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center in Eagle River. Please come share stories and have lunch.
Mary was born on July 29, 1934, in Valley Stream, N.Y. to James and Kaliopi Costas. The youngest of five siblings, she was proud of her Greek heritage, and even more proud to be a first generation American. She graduated from Valley Stream Central High School in 1952 and married her high school sweetheart, Arthur Sundt, in 1954 upon his return from overseas service in the Army Signal Corps.
The couple lived in Syracuse, N.Y. from 1955 to 1959 while Art attended college. Their son, Eric, was born there in February 1959. From 1960-1962 they lived in Hayfork, Calif., where Art worked for the U. S. Forest Service. Their daughter, Karen was born there in December 1960. In 1962 the family moved to Eagle River, where Mary and Art enjoyed 47 years together, 20 of those as snowbirds wintering in Costa Rica, until Art’s death in 2009.
Her family said, “Mary continued living in their house until the very end, spending many hours in the company of close friends until Lou Gehrig’s Disease finally claimed her. The disease stole her voice, her ability to eat, and her mobility, but it couldn’t dampen her spirit. She embraced new technology, communicating with the aid of newfangled gadets like smart phones and tablets. She smiled through it all, even in the darkest of times. She was an inspiration to all who knew her.
“Mary enjoyed the outdoors. Autumn would often find her competing with the local moose to see who could harvest more vegetables from her garden. The family spent many happy days fishing, river-boating and enjoying their homestead in Sunshine. She was a gifted stained glass artist, winning several awards at the Alaska State Fair for her creations. She loved bird watching, and always kept her feeders stocked with fresh seed and suet. She was a huge fan of the Alaska Aces hockey team, and listened faithfully to every game on the radio when the disease would not allow her to attend in person any more.”
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Sundt; parents, James and Kaliopi Costas; sisters, Effie Tentas and Stella Rigas; and brothers, John and Gus Costas.
She is survived by her son, Eric Sundt, his wife Beverly and their daughter Danielle; daughter, Karen Sundt; and her beloved dog Tula, who never left her side during the final days. She leaves behind many dear friends including Eunice Vrem, Shirley Mauldin, Betty Bockstahler, Darren, Maria and Morgan Rathbun, Fred, Mary, Jake, Anna and Laura Ripp, Doctors Daniel and Luba Coverdell and family, and Jeff Bowers.
The family would like to send thank you to the many people who helped make Mary’s last days comfortable, including the entire staff at Acute Family Clinic, the wonderful caregivers at Care Net - Lorna, Emily, Pauline, Paula, Kahlia, Kayla, Tamyko, Lindsey, and Katie, and everyone from Hospice of Anchorage. A very special thank-you to Mary Ripp, Karen Nordahl, Sharrie Swiderski, Heidi Burmeister, Dominique Dollison, and Sheri Boggs. Their faithful support and friendship were a great comfort.
In lieu of flowers, Mary requested donations be made to the ALS Association Evergreen Chapter or Hospice of Anchorage.