Albany- Mary Catherine Surprise, 79, passed away after a heroic battle with cancer on Sunday, November 4, 2018. She is survived by her loving daughter Maria (Surprise) Berkoff, her son in law Nathan Berkoff, and her beloved granddaughter, Sylvia Francesca, her little pumpkin. She is also survived by her only sister, Fran Campione, as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Dear friends Nancy McCann and Eve Horbat were a constant presence in her life, filling her days with their wonderful company and conversations.
She is predeceased by her beloved husband of 50 years, William Ernst Surprise, as well as her parents, Vito Campione and Frances LaMorta Campione.
Mary was the epitomy of a mom— At St. Pius X, she was a room mother, known for spoiling her daughter’s classes with countless baked goods, as well as being a fixture in the school’s kitchen at lunchtime, at the annual craft fair, and on field trips. She was the mom who made sure that kids whose parents worked late had a house and after school snack to come home to on many days. She continued this at the Albany Academies, volunteering whenever she could at the school, hosting many after school study groups, and summertime pool parties. Quietly, she and her husband made sure that kids in need of back to school clothes and supplies in the Albany area had them each and every school year. Mary never stopped being a Mom— it was something that she was truly born to be.
Her crowning achievement was becoming a grandmother, or Nonie, this year when Sylvia Francesca was born in March, traveling down to New York City after her birth to hold and read to her first grandchild. Sylvia was her little pumpkin, and she loved her with every ounce of her being. She even learned how to FaceTime at age 79 just so she could join her on walks through Central Park, watch her during tummy time, and read her bedtime stories every night. Little Pumpkin knew just how to make her Nonie smile.
Though we miss Mary so much already in these first days after her passing, we know that she is watching over our family each and every day— still being a Mom and a Nonie. We loved you on this Earth, and we love you even though you have left us in body, carrying you in our hearts every day.
Calling hours for Mary will be held on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 4pm until 7pm at New Comer Cremations & Funerals, 181 Troy Schenectady Road, Watervliet, 12189, where a service will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 10:30am. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery, Glenmont.
To honor Mary, we encourage you to donate a children’s book to your local children’s hospital as the holiday season approaches. Mary was a firm believer in education, specifically in the power and wonder of books on a child’s life.