Mary Ann McCarthy was born March 4, 1921 in Lincoln, Illinois, the daughter of James and Anna Hayes McCarthy. Her three siblings, Frances McCormick, Fr. James T. McCarthy OSB, and Robert W. McCarthy preceded her in death.
She attended local parochial and public schools and graduated Lincoln College, then studied vocal music at Illinois Wesleyan University, earning her Bachelor of Music in 1942. She joined Wesleyan’s chapter of the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, whose motto is “Life is short, art is long.” The fraternity’s mission is to encourage, nurture and support the art of music. Mary lived this ideal.
Mary taught vocal music and English at high schools in the communities of Divernon, Wood River, Charleston and Lincoln. Her choruses did well in competitions. Mary liked to tell the story about how during chorus rehearsals, she kept hearing a baritone that wasn’t quite in sync. She stopped the chorus and the tone persisted. She realized the sound was a booming voice emanating from the locker room, located on the first floor directly below the music room. The voice belonged to coach and fellow teacher, Ed Migielicz.
On June 6, 1951, she married Edward Jacob Migielicz in St. Patrick's Church in Lincoln. Mary left teaching to raise their four daughters, but remained active in music, directing a community women’s choral group, The Notabelles. She sang and directed music at Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln and organized community concert series. She continued to work as a substitute teacher until she was nearly 80 years of age.
Edward preceded her in death on May 16, 2007. Mary then moved from the family home in West Frankfort to the Windsor of Savoy, where she enjoyed ten years of senior community living and was a member of The Windsor Singers and the Windsor Bell Choir.
She is survived by her daughters, Franne Davis of Savoy, Marykate Migielicz of Harrisburg, Geri Migielicz of Ben Lomond, Calif., and Jane Heisserer of Savoy: son-in-law Wayne Davis, daughter-in-law Liza Culick: grandchildren Jed Heisserer, Tess Heisserer and Garth Morris.
Mary's family will celebrate a private funeral Mass at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Champaign, with her interment in Tower Heights Cemetery in West Frankfort, IL.
Public memorial service plans are pending due to the current pandemic.
Memorials in Mary’s memory may be made to: St. Matthew Catholic School, Champaign, St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School, West Frankfort, or The Alzheimer’s Association.
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