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Mary's Story

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GLOUCESTER, MA - Mary Louise Tarbox, wife of the late Ralph R. Tarbox, Jr. (Joe), was surrounded by family and her beloved dog, Lucky, when after an extended illness, she left the earth to be reunited with her husband who prematurely left her over 45 years ago.
Mary Lou was born on Mother's Day, May 11, 1941, to the late Capt. James and Olive (Lasley) Madruga at home on Pearl Street in Gloucester, Mass.
She was a graduate of Gloucester High School, Class of 1959. In her younger years, she worked as a seamstress for Gloucester Pants company and Mighty Mac clothing company. Later, Mary Lou worked with her parents, sisters, and close family friend, Christine Garron, at Coastal Marine Supply on Washington Street for over 30 years until the business closed and she retired.
Mary Lou and Joe were married on October 16, 1966. Over the next five years they had three children together and bought a house that she proudly lived in for over 50 years.
Joe passed away on November 29, 1972, leaving her with three children under age 5. She carried on a family tradition that she had started with Joe of taking the family camping for a few weeks a year, mostly at the old Len and Kay campground in Barrington, N.H.
Mary Lou was very devoted to her family. From proudly raising her three kids by herself to helping out her parents in their later years. She absolutely loved each and every one of her grandkids. She spent countless hours babysitting for them when they were all younger. She tried to teach the grandkids as best she could whether it was with school work, crafts, sewing or many other things.
Mary Lou was a very creative person. She made many Halloween costumes for her own kids and later her grandchildren. Anybody that needed pants hemmed, any other clothes tailored, Mary Lou was more than happy to help out. In later years she started making knitted hats on a loom. She made adult hats that she would donate to the homeless shelter and infant hats she would donate to hospitals. When she was in Gloucester Healthcare rehab recently, she couldn't make hats fast enough. Many nurses at the rehab are still wearing them today.
For many years she ran a cribbage club at the American Legion. At times she would have over 50 members playing who all looked forward to the great banquets she would run and creative prizes she would give out. Later in life, she started playing cribbage online where she made many real good friends all over the country including Marsha, Cheryl, Shannon, Dottie, Jane, and many others.
Mary Lou is survived by her three children, Rhonda, wife of Matthew Gagnon of Beverly, and their children, Hunter and Spencer; Ralph III (Rusty), husband of Nancy, and their children, Thayne, Talia, Mandi, and Mary Lou's sole great-grandchild, Cole; and James, husband of Heidi, and step-son, Kyle Clayton. She is also survived by her sisters, Beverly Burnham and Ginny Madruga; sister-in-law, Mary Ann Borge and her husband, Arnie Baker; and other aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and of course, her beloved dog, Lucky.
In addition to her parents and husband, Mary Lou was predeceased by her sisters, Gloria Boston and Joan, wife of the late Gordon (Dooney) Burnham, Jr.; brothers-in-law, George Burnham and William Borge; and her mother and father-in-law, Eda and Ralph Tarbox Sr.
Mary Lou's Funeral Service will be in the Pike-Newhall Funeral Home, 61 Middle St., Gloucester, on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. Her visiting hours will be on Tuesday evening, February 20, 2018, from 5 to 8 p.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Interment will be in Beechbrook Cemetery, West Gloucester. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary's name may be made to Cape Ann Animal Aid, 4 Paws Lane, Gloucester, MA 01930. For online condolences and register book, please visit www.pikenewhall.com.
Published on February 18, 2018
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