Mary Ellen A. Tholl

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Mary Ellen Tholl, age 94, loving wife, mother, and matriarch of eight children, nine grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren, passed away on Saturday, March 13, 2021, surrounded by family.

Mary Ellen was born in Detroit, MI to Jerome and Mildred (Fredericks) DeSantis.  She graduated high school at St. Philip Neri, Detroit, MI, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marygrove College, Detroit, MI, and an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.  On January 28, 1950, she married the love of her life, William E. Tholl, Jr., in Detroit, MI.  They moved to Gaylord, MI in November of 1955.

She devoted her time to raising eight children, working voluntarily at St. Mary’s rectory, cathedral, and school. She was an organist at St. Mary Cathedral, a member of the Daughters of Isabella, a Cub Scout den mother, and a CCD teacher.  She was instrumental in starting the Adult Education Program for Gaylord Community Schools. She strongly advocated education, thus, her working with the Gaylord Community Schools and St. Mary Cathedral School.

Mary Ellen was preceded in death, by her parents; Jerome and Mildred DeSantis, brothers; Denny and Fred, and four daughters; Gerianne, Mary Jo, Toni, and Patricia.

She is survived by her loving husband Bill, and children; Jeanne, Ed (Roberta), Lynne (Jeff), Margaret (Tim), sons-in-law; Thom Berlin and Mike Dobrzelewski; grandchildren; Bill, Dr. Matthew, Christopher (Pam), Dr. Danielle, Amanda, RN (Josh), Patrick (Elizabeth), Thomas (Katie), Hannah (Scott), Byron and Max; great-grandchildren, Reese, Cheyenne, Bailey, Lucy, Claire, Sadie, Lily, Maya, and Lyman; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A mass of Christian burial will be held on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at St Mary Cathedral, Gaylord, MI, with visitation being held at 10:00 a.m. at the cathedral. The mass is available for viewing by the community on the cathedral’s website at Burial will be at a later date in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Gaylord St. Mary Cathedral School or St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, PO Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.

55 comments on “Mary Ellen A. Tholl”

  1. Frank and Laurie Noa

    Bill and Family, our hearts go out to all of you. Mary Ellen was a very strong and vibrant Lady who always had a smile and contagious laugh. She will be missed even though this last year kept people from interacting, she was always close to our hearts. RIP sweet Lady..

  2. Tholl Family I’m very sorry for the loss of grandma Tholl , my you all know you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time
    Hugs to you all

  3. God bless you all—you are such a special family —I alwaYs looked forward to seeing Mary Ellen at church . Will be keeping you all in my prayers. Nancy Forcier

  4. The Tholl family, so sorry for your loss! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Grandma Tholl was a wonderful lady. She will be missed very much!

  5. Richard Skowronski

    So sorry for your loss!! Always loved seeing Bill and Mary Ellen in church and saying hello to them .she will be missed!

  6. Jim & Barb Lappan

    Saddened to read of the passing of Mrs. Tholl. As with long time Gaylord friends her smile and love of life will be missed. Our sincere thoughts and prayers during this time.

  7. We often use the word grand to describe a virtue in a lady like Mrs. Tholl, but in this case it is totally appropriate. She truly had your best interest at heart and an infectious smile to go with her motherly personality. She was in a class all of her own and our community grieves for her family .

  8. Ken and Lynne czarkowski

    So sorry to hear about Mary Ellen’s passing. Please know you are all in our prayers. She was a wonderful lady. 🙏

    1. Barbara Switalski

      Mike and I are so sorry for your loss. Mary Ellen was a truly amazing woman. She did so much for education here in our community with higher education! God will truly appreciate having her with him.

  9. To the Tholl family. so sorry for your loss. What a great person she was, lots of prayer’s are being said. We will miss seeing her and family at the Big Boy on Sunday morning.

  10. Our thoughts and prayers for your family. Mrs. Tholl was my example of grace, beauty, and compassion! I have fond memories of the many activities she hosted for the Jr. Daughters of Isabella and the girls of St. Mary’s School. May you rest in peace, Mrs. Tholl!

  11. Thoughts and prayers are with the family, She truly was a great lady and will be missed by all that knew her! RIP Mrs. Tholl

  12. So sorry for your loss. Heaven has gained a beautiful angel and she will watch over all of you from above. Prayers for all of you during your healing time.

  13. To Lynn and the Tholl family.
    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your wife, mother, sister and grandmother. It is always so hard to express the grief that you go through when a loved one passes but I do know with your faith in God, He will be there and carry you through this loss. God never said life would be easy but HE did say that He would always be with us and never leave us nor forsake us. I still hold firm to that faith and belief even after 8 yrs of the loss of my husband Gary. I will see him some day soon as you will see your mom! You are all in my prayers. 🙏🙏🙏

  14. Thoughts and prayers for you all during this difficult time. I met Mary Ellen at BJ’s years ago where I worked at that time. We immediately became friends. Her warm smile and gentle caring way just drew me to her. She was always quick with a smile an hi and inquiring about me an my family when I saw her at church. . The world could use many more wonderful people like this dear woman.

  15. Phil and Sally Williams

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Tholl family. I loved Mrs Tholl. No more suffering . Heaven has gained an angel. My heart is with you Lynne. ❤️

  16. Jackie and Ernie Wcisel

    Dear Lynne, Ed, and Tholl family,
    So sorry for your loss. Mrs. Tholl was always
    smiling, nice, and a wonderful lady. May
    your memories give you peace and a smile in your heart.

  17. Bill and Mary Ann Skibinski

    To the family of Mrs. Tholl, we are so very sorry for your loss of a wonderful woman with such a warm
    heart and awesome smile, always so welcoming and glad to see you. Please know that she is in our
    thoughts and prayers and all of you as well. Also, God has welcomed her with open arms.

  18. To the Tholl Family:
    Our Condolences to your family, what a great lady Mrs. Tholl was, so very kind and sweet. She’ll be greatly missed. We’re thinking of you all during this difficult time, With Deepest Sympany, Terry and Kathy Avenall and Patricia Prusakiewicz

  19. Praying for comfort for the Tholl family. We were neighbors long ago, to the Mouse House. such a kind family. Sending our love.


  21. Richard Becky Shavinski

    Bill, Children, Family. Our prayers to the Tholl family, on your loss. May she have eternal rest. Rest In Peace Mrs. Tholl. Dick Becky Shavinski

  22. Dear Lynne and family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Your mom always greeted me with a smile, a hug, and a wonderful laugh. She will always have a place in our hearts. My condolences, Bonny Jo

  23. Uncle Bill and family- I am so sorry about the loss of my Beloved Namesake, Aunt Mary Ellen. She was a warm and loving constant in my life and I will truly miss her. Wishing we could be there with all of you, but know we are sending prayers and hugs to all of you. I am so grateful that we could stop in, unannounced, all of those times over the years, when we were up North, and be welcomed with open arms.

  24. Dear Bill and all the Tholl family. So very sorry for your loss. Mary Ellen was always a joy to be around, whether at school, church or community. God has truly received a blessed soul into his presence.

  25. Mark Karen Lambert

    Mr. Tholl, Patrick and family,
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Mark and Karen Lambert

  26. Raymond Gapinski

    Sorry to hear of Mrs. Tholls passing. We will miss seeing her with Bill, Jeanne and Lynne at church on Saturday evening. She was always so friendly and had such a beautiful smile, and raised such a nice family.

  27. Mrs. Tholl was an amazing mother and wife. My prayers are with the entire family. Loved her smile! She loved her family and she was a light to all of us. Blessings to everyone in the family.

  28. My deepest condolences to the family. My sweet friend Amanda Is Mary Ellen’s granddaughter and has shared loving stories of her grandparents. I know that her grandma was very special to her and she will miss her so much. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Amanda during this difficult time. May she Rest In Peace.

  29. Bob and Jinkie Cherwinski

    To the Tholl Family,
    Our deepest condolences on the loss of Mary Ellen. She will truly be missed. Her big smile and kind words always added to our day whenever we would see her. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  30. Rosanne M Cunningham

    Mr. Tholl, Lynne and family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time. Mrs. Tholls is the definition of a life well lived.
    With much love, Rose (Shomock) Cunningham

    1. Pat and Darlene Harkins

      To the family: We are so sorry for the loss of your lovely mother. She will be missed. I’m sure she’s dancing with the angels. She always greeted us with smiles, kind words. Truly a kind, sweet lady of grace. She loved her family, and loved her friends. It showed in her warmth and smiles. God bless her. In time , may you find peace knowing how much she was loved. Our hearts go out to you all.

  31. To Mr. Tholl, Lynne, Margaret, Jeanne and Ed,

    We were so sorry to read about Mrs. Tholl’s passing. We all know she is in a better place with our Lord and all family and friends that have gone before her. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

    Jim, Judy and Toni Duhoski

  32. Mr. Tholl and family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. She was such a beautiful person. Sending my love and prayers

  33. Mary Vinicki Rude

    To all the Tholl family, may you find comfort in knowing how much she was loved in this Gaylord community. Everyone knew Mrs. Tholl. She was always so kind to me, all thru my school years at St Mary school, with Margaret. And even years later, her smiles and greetings were so warm and loving. Now she is in heaven with her other children, those who left this earth before her. How happy they must be! Heaven gained another angel. Prayers and hugs to you all. May all your wonderful memories bring you comfort and peace.

  34. Cindy (Johnson) Bush

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother/ mother-in-law. My memories of her, while I was growing up, ( I was a friend of Toni’s) was that if you were at her home, you were her child. Prayers and comfort to the family.

  35. Gertrude Gapinski-Miller

    To the Tholl family, our prayers are with you. Will miss seeing your wife and mom. She was such a nice lady.

  36. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mrs. Tholl. She was such a beautiful soul! And I always felt so welcome to be in her presence! Thankful to have known everyone in the family! ❤️

  37. Mary Ann (DeSantis) Zettelmaier

    Condolences to Bill and family. Mary Ellen was more than cousin, the first of the twenty DeSantis grandchildren. She was my godmother and role model, the first woman I knew who could combine education and family, and show me possibilities I might not otherwise have known. Memories abound, all of them fond. Rest in peace, dear lady

  38. Sending our condolences from The Bernard and Sadie DeSantis family.. She was a very loved cousin. My Mom and Dad always enjoyed her and Bill. ❤️🙏

  39. Rip, you were one of the best neighbors anyone could’ve grown up with. Prayers for the family, she surely will be missed.

  40. Mary Jane Schoenherr

    Sending condolences to Bill and family.
    Mary Jane DeSantis Schoenherr ( Babe & Betty, I am #7 of eight )

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