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Mary Sue Shay

January 14, 1938 ~ February 7, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Mary Sue Shay Obituary

A celebration of the life of Mary Sue Shay will occur on Saturday, May 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Regent Ballroom & Dance Center, 1406 Regency Dr. West, Savoy, IL 61874, (217) 359-5333, office@regentballroom.com.

 Everyone is welcome. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts and drinks will be served. A receiving line to meet relatives of Mary Sue will occur from 1-2 p.m. Friends and relatives will share memories of Mary Sue from 2-3 p.m. There will be dancing from 3-4 p.m, including a line dance lesson.

Mary Sue Shay nee Baumgardner died peacefully but quite suddenly in her sleep on Tuesday February 7, 2023. Mary Sue was energetic to the end, having gone line dancing the previous weekend.  
Mary Sue was born in Tiffin, Ohio on January 14, 1938 to John Baumgardner and Luella Dehn. She lost her mother when she was only 7 but gained a stepmother (Nida Blago) at age 13. She was the second of four children. She graduated from high school in Centerline, Michigan where she was a cheerleader and played basketball. Later, she famously and hilariously reprised her cheerleading skills on the sidelines at her sons’ high school and college soccer games. She received an associate degree in nursing from St Joseph Mercy in Detroit and worked in the emergency room of Detroit General Hospital and the Rehab Institute of Detroit.
She met the love of her life in Detroit, married Thomas J Shay Jr on October 14, 1967, and relocated to Champaign, IL in 1968. While raising two boys Mary Sue went back to school and received her BSN in Nursing from the University of Illinois in 1976. In the 1980s, she trained Certified Nurses Assistants at the Urbana Adult Education Center.
Mary Sue took an active interest in the education of her children. She was active in the Montessori School of Champaign from 1970-1976 and active at Holy Cross School while her children attended. She was a long-time member of Holy Cross Parish.
As everyone who knew her would agree, Mary Sue was a force of nature with boundless energy. She had innumerable friends and made an impression on everyone she met. She would strike up a conversation with anyone.
She loved gardening, cooking, reading intrigue and spy novels, but her true passion in life was dancing. She was a member of the Illini Figure Skating Club where she studied ice dancing for decades. She also taught skating as part of both the Learn to Skate program and the Illini Figure Skating Club. She loved to participate in ice shows at the UI Ice Arena. Beginning in 1976, she joined the Regent Ballroom with her husband and continued her love of the dance, but this time on wood floors. She loved to compete in ballroom dancing and was thrilled when her son Michael took up competitive ballroom dancing. She was a regular at the Regent Ballroom and in recent years had also started line dancing. During the pandemic, every Saturday morning without fail she would line dance in the parking lot of the Regent Ballroom wearing a mask. She never stopped dancing through life, and there is now a gap in the dance line that can never be filled.
She was preceded in death by all of her siblings, Jan Baumgardner, Carl Forest, and Martin Baumgardner, as well as her brother-in-law, John M. Shay. She is survived by her husband Tom; her two sons Christian Shay and Michael Shay (Amy); granddaughters Eva and Molly Shay; nephews Damien Nash, Felix Baum, Austin Forest, Joe Baumgardner; nieces Kristen Caven, Cassidy Forest Smith, Carly Forest; sister-in-laws Mary Baumgardner and Viviane Forest.
Owens Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements with private burial services at Woodlawn cemetery. There will be a celebration of life at the Regent Ballroom this coming May (the tentative date is May 20, 2023).

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Sue Shay, please visit our floral store.

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Gathering of Family and Friends
May 20, 2023

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Regent Ballroom & Dance Center
1406 Regency Dr. West
Savoy, IL 61874



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