Mary Jo Dregits, 67, of Granger, IN, passed away at 9:11 p.m. Monday, May 18, 2020 at Memorial Hospital, South Bend, IN.
She was born on September 29, 1952 to the late John and Mary (Kelly) Fitzgerald in South Bend, IN, and was a lifelong area resident.
On November 25, 1972, as Mary Jo Fitzgerald, she married her high school sweetheart Michael L. Dregits at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, IN.
Mary Jo is survived by her loving husband and soulmate of 47 years, Michael Dregits of Granger, IN; daughter, Erin (husband Dan) Grontkowski and their children: Chris, Carter, and Lucy; daughter, Alicia (husband Adam) Van Es and their children: Nick and Vinny; and her sister, Cathy (husband Terry) Zubler of Loveland, CO.
Mary Jo was taken from this world too soon. She never knew a stranger, she loved with her whole heart, and she was one of the toughest, hardworking, dedicated people you’d ever meet.
She enjoyed being with her family and friends. She spoiled her grandkids making sure to always have fully stocked zebra cakes, peaches and treats for them to find only asking for a hug in return. Weekend sleepovers and supporting her favorite athletes, dancers, and crazy grandkids made her heart smile. Mary Jo took up golf to have more time with Mike. In her prime, she would walk so fast that we would practically have to run to catch up. Loved gardening, camping and traveling. Cherished memories of their adventures to Lake Michigan, Ireland, Costa Rica, St. Thomas and yearly trips to Florida with family and friends to name a few.
She was honest, fair and as welcoming as anyone can possibly be. She impacted so many by simply being herself. Door was always open at the Dregits’ house. So many of the girl’s friends came through those doors and left as part of the family. Half of them knew the code to get in the house and would help themselves to leftovers in the fridge, hop in the pool or maybe even have a party when they were out of town. Not mentioning any names.
She offered food and drinks to anyone who walked in the door, made a mean pot roast, meatloaf, lasagna, and one heck of Thanksgiving turkey – learned from Grandpa Louie. Loved family traditions of making zucchini pineapple bread in the summer and Christmas Cookie Saturday around the holidays. She made some of the best kieflies – hands down! All while listening to the Muppets and Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train.
She was a surgical tech for local hospitals and private scrub for GVS over her 45-year career retiring in 2017. She knew her trade in surgery and if anyone was in need of help, she was there to assist them. Fitz set a standard of excellence, a unique combination of skill, caring, focus, integrity and toughness. We celebrated her retirement with an epic party at the house – band, dance floor and all. Heard from many that she was one of the best. Always did it the right way, aka her way. “You can agree with me or you can be wrong!”
Mom and Dad always would throw one heck of good party together, especially their famous Hog Belly Feast turned 4th of July party, along with her girlfriends Christmas party and countless other gatherings. Of course, she’s Irish so there’s always a lot of “cheer”.
She says the best decision in her life was marrying her high school sweetheart, Mike – he’s a “gift”. There is an unbreakable bond between those two even if they bickered. In some of dad’s favorite words “You know my loving not fade away”.
Not easy to put her life into words since she did so much and touched so many lives.
Love you always Bun, Johanna, Mom, Grandma, Sister, Aunt Moonie, Aunt Mary Jo, Aunt Jo, Fitz, Fitzy, Mary Jo, Mrs. Dregits. The world was a better place for having her walk amongst us. You will always be with us. You had one heck of ride. We love you to the moon and back. Rest in peace.
A Private Family Service will take place, followed by a Public Visitation from 2-5 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, IN. Cremation will follow.
Please save the date for August 1, 2020, for a Public Celebration of Life - “One More Saturday Night”. More details to follow later.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: St. Margaret’s House, 117 N. Lafayette Blvd., South Bend, IN 46601 or GiGi’s Playhouse, 5909 E. 86th St., Indianapolis, IN 46250.
To send online condolences, please visit www.kaniewski.com.
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