Mary Bernaski passed away January 8, 2020 just 19 days short of her 99th birthday. Mary was born in Amsterdam, NY. Following marriage to William Bernaski, she moved to Schenectady, NY where she worked as a floral designer and raised her family. Mary was a loving mother and grandmother. She leaves behind two children, two grandchildren and five great-grandsons.

In the 1980s Mary began coming to Hidalgo, TX as a Winter Texan. Following the death of her husband, Mary established her home at Lake Texano and spent the summer months in New York. Until 2015, Mary made the annual 2,150 mile migration between Texas and New York, driving her car solo. She was still driving skillfully and safely in Texas until she stopped driving for health reasons in mid-2018.

Mary Bernaski 2014 Volunteer of the Year
Mary Bernaski 2014 Volunteer of the Year

Mary lived independently and completely on her own until recently. Mary was recognized three times as Volunteer of the Year: in 2012 by the Texas Association of Fairs and Events, in 2014 by the International Festivals and Events Association, and in 2019 by the Texas Festivals and Events Association. As a lifelong volunteer, Mary was a Girl Scout leader and worked with 4-H kids in NY.

She tutored Hidalgo grade school kids in reading. She was a Hidalgo Borderfest chairperson, Hidalgo arena VIP greeter, Festival of Lights tour guide and most notably, Mary was Mrs. Claus during the Festival of Lights.

Mary is memorialized in the Borderfest Walk of Fame. Mary has many friends in the RGV area, including especially, Kay Wolf whom Mary loved dearly. Mary and Kay enjoyed close friendship for many years. Kay has generously looked after Mary to make sure she was happy and safe.

Mary’s children thank Chana (Feliciana Silva) for the outstanding, kind assistance she provided to their mother in her final months. All are welcome to gather at the Sacred Heart Church 208 So. 2nd St., Hidalgo, Texas for a memorial celebration of Mary’s life on January 23, 2020 at 10:00 am.  (Obituary)