In Memory of Mary Kepler





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Mary Kepler

Mary Kepler, died on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at Commonwealth Senior Living at the age of 86 after an extended battle with various health issues. Mary was born in Dearborn, Michigan on January 17, 1934 to Peter Paul Chernick II and Mary (Gornick) Chernick and relocated to Steelton, PA at the age of 10 when her father passed away. Mary graduated from Harrisburg Catholic High (Bishop McDevitt) in 1952 and continued her education to attain degrees that allowed her to teach in the Central Dauphin School District for 27+ years. She was active with very young children and even their young adulthood by serving 13 years with the Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes as well as G-2 unit leader for Hemlock Council for approximately 9 years. Mary already having a double associate degree in 1970, earned a Bachelor's degree in 1972 from Penn State as well as a Master's degree in Education and a Reading Specialist Certification in 1975 from Millersville University. She knew when to ask for help and was able to include young children eager to help and often their parents in her efforts. She took an interest in children with reading and attention problems and took the time and made the effort to bring them up to speed to reach their highest potential to enjoy a productive life and career, even when others wrote them off as having little ability to succeed. Mary was also very active in her church. For 10 years she served as Lector, Sacristan and Eucharistic Minster and taught CCD at St. James and was requested to start their Vacation Bible School. Upon becoming a member of the Holy Name of Jesus Church, she continued with her prior services and added any and all request for additional help from her pastor and others. To this end, she received certification in Lay Leaders Ministry from Georgetown University, a 2001 certification Ecclesiastical from St. Francis of Latrobe, and a 2002 certification of Spiritual Director from Mount St. Mary's. She was asked to start a Bereavement Support Group at Holy Name which was open not only to the Diocese, but also to any other denomination. She coordinated and managed the Ecumenical Program. She did whatever was asked of her and once accepting, worked at it beyond anyone's expectations. All in all, her record shows her dedication- 40 years as a sacristan; 38 years teaching CCD; 35 years directing Vacation Bible School; 13 years overseeing Ecumenical Program- a life well spent in purpose and service. Mary was predeceased by her paternal grandparents, Peter Paul and Monica Chernick (Reading, Pa), maternal grandparents, Martin and Mary Gornick (Steelton, PA), father Peter Paul Chernick II, mother Mary (Chernick) Keiser, stepfather John A. Keiser, brother Peter Paul Chernick III, Fiancé Ronald Bradt. She is survived by 3 daughters, Cynthia (Kenneth) Forbes (Waynesboro, PA), Barbara (Daniel) Yates, (Waukegan, IL), Karen (Michael) Tonks (Longmont, CO), 8 grandchildren, 2 great granddaughters, sister Monica (Elmer) Burd, sister-in-law Joan Chernick ( San Angelo, TX), 5 nieces, one nephew. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 11:30 am in Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, 6150 Allentown Blvd, Harrisburg, with the Rev. Mark Speitel, pastor officiating. A viewing will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 am in the church. Private burial will be held in Resurrection Cemetery. Covid-19 restrictions will apply, masks and social distancing will be required. Arrangements by Wiedeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Oberlin. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to: Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, 6150 Allentown Blvd, Harrisburg PA 17112; St. Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church, 4000 Derry St. Harrisburg PA, 17111; or St. Jude's Children's Hospital,