Mary Barbara Chiaccio went to be with God Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, after a stoic battle with melanoma. She died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones, at the age of 68.
She is survived by Gary, her husband of 46 years, her three children, Jamie Agunsday (Lawrence), Joseph (Cynthia West), and Meredith Birsner (Roark); her five grandchildren; her six siblings, Robert, Margaret, Jane, Louise, William, and Paula; and her seventeen nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Helen (Ambuske) Timm; and sister, Carol.
Born Mary Barbara Timm in St. Marys, Pa., she was affectionately known as 'Mother Mary' to her siblings and "Nana" to her grandchildren. Mary was a 1966 graduate of Elk County Christian High School, and a 1970 graduate of St. Francis College. While in college, she fatefully met Gary Chiaccio on a school bus and it was love at first sight. They married in 1970 and were nearly inseparable for the next 46 years. Mary and Gary were devoted to one another and to their children and their marriage served as an inspiration to many.
After they were wed, Mary and Gary settled in South Jersey where Mary began her career as a teacher. Mary dedicated her life to helping young students learn and understand life sciences including science, biology, social studies, and health over a 42-year career that began at Holy Cross High School and ended at Delran Middle School. In 2005, Mary was honored as the Governor's Teacher of the Year. As a teacher, she had profound compassion for disadvantaged and bullied students and also passionately promoted academic excellence in science.
Mary was a great swimmer and loved the water and the beach. She was responsible for getting her children involved in competitive swimming and was their biggest fan. She also enjoyed golf, crocheting for Project Linus, boating, family reunion trips to Ocean City, N.J., attending her children's swimming meets, and hosting elaborate, boisterous, spontaneous family dinner gatherings. Mary was a devout Catholic who lived her faith her entire life, prayed the Rosary daily, and made a life-changing, faith-affirming pilgrimage to Lourdes, France in 2014. Mary's greatest joy in the last five years came from spending time with her five grandchildren. She designed her home as a place where they could play and learn. Mary never turned down an opportunity to be around her husband, children, and grandchildren and she was happiest when their house was full of their laughter.
Visitors will be received at Sacred Heart Church, Riverton from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, and from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4. Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mary B. Chiaccio Foundation for Life Sciences, P.O. Box 2711, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077. The Chiaccio family gratefully acknowledges the outpouring of generosity, love, and support from family, friends and faithful alike.Weber Funeral Home,