Mercedes Catherine Vaira (90) passed away peacefully at her home in LaPlata, Maryland on November 28, 2019 after a long illness.
Mercedes was born on December 16, 1928 in Avella, PA. She was one of the eldest of 13 children to Pete and Nellie Kowcheck. Her early years were caring for younger siblings and working on her parents’ dairy farm in Avella, PA. She attended a one room schoolhouse in her early education and was a graduate from Avella High School in 1947. She married Henry on October 21, 1950 and shared 28 years of many memories. They were blessed with 3 children and lived in Bentleyville, PA until relocating to Bryans Road, Maryland in 1964. Mercedes worked for Safeway for many years retiring in 1984 after Henry’s death in 1978. Mercedes moved to her hometown of Avella where she enjoyed life with her large family and friends she grew up with.
In 1996 Mercedes moved back to Maryland residing in an in-law suite of the home but always close to her daughter Terri, son in law Tony and grandchildren Zachary and Matthew (whom she treasured dearly).
Mercedes will be remembered for her generosity towards her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Christmas cookies, currency and special “gifts” were a holiday tradition. She enjoyed cooking, gardening, tole painting, playing jacks, cards, bowling, traveling and her family. She was a devout Catholic and a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in La Plata, Maryland.
She is preceded in death by her husband Henry Vaira, son Dennis Vaira, her parents Peter and Nellie Kowcheck, a sister, Loretta Loftis, an infant sister, Mary Rita and five brothers, Thomas, Regis, Edward, James and Hugh Kowcheck.
She is survived by her children David (Barbara) of Waldorf, Maryland, Terri Vaira-James (Tony) and daughter-in-law Patricia Vaira of La Plata, Maryland. She is also survived by her eight grandchildren, David and Daniel Vaira, Angela Souder, Michael Vaira, Megan Mattingly, Molly Kelly, Zachary and Matthew James; 15 great-grandchildren Aidan, Kendall and Jonas Souder, Tori and Nate Vaira, Lucy, Natalie and Jordan Vaira, Clark and Henry Mattingly, Elliott James, Keira and Austin Greenhorn, Savannah Vaira and James Kelly; three brothers David (Rose), Paul (Diane) and John (Anna) Kowcheck all of Avella, and two sisters Mary (Jim) Chase of Claysville PA and Bernita (Richard) Defibaugh of Avella, PA.; and several nieces and nephews.
Viewing Saturday, December 7, 2019 10-11 AM followed by a Funeral mass at Sacred Heart Church in LaPlata, Maryland.
Viewing Monday, December 9, 2019 10-11 AM followed by a Funeral mass at Saint Katharine Drexel Parish (Ave Maria) in Bentleyville, PA. Burial at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Monongahela, PA.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to American Diabetes Association or Sacred Heart Catholic Church, LaPlata, Maryland.
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