Mary Elizabeth (Heim) Sandusky, a beloved family matriarch, award-winning floral designer, good golfer and impressive cook, passed away peacefully with family bedside, on September 14, 2023. She was 89 years old. Born and raised in Westview, Pa., Mary moved to Maryland with her husband, Alex, who enjoyed a decorated, 13-year NFL career with the Baltimore Colts. Together, they raised their active family in Annapolis, Md.
Mary and Alex eased into retirement by splitting time between Annapolis and Key West, Fla., before finally settling in Key West on a full-time basis. Their house overlooked the canal in Key Haven, and Mary enjoyed creating and tending the tropical gardens in her corner of paradise.
While Key West is a destination in its own right, Mary’s culinary and entertainment skills were also a strong draw, and they frequently welcomed large groups of friends, children and grandchildren. “Food, friends and family – what else is there?” was a common refrain in the Sandusky household, and Mary’s generous hospitality never disappointed.
Mary frequently volunteered her time and energy at the Key West Garden Club. She entered statewide floral competitions, where she won numerous awards for her designs. She was also a very competent golfer, playing in ladies leagues and club tournaments over the years.
As their age increased and health declined, Mary and Alex relocated to the Louisville, KY, area to be near their daughter. After Alex’s passing in 2020, Mary moved in with Connie and her husband Mark. They kept her active with gardening, canning, cooking and creating a wide variety of arts and crafts. One of the great joys of her final years was spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who loved their “GG.”
Mary leaves behind a rich legacy of warmth, creativity, and family unity, reflected in the close-knit family she nurtured, and the beautiful gardens she tended with love and care. Mary created balance for her family through hard work, strong values and attention to detail. She held her loved ones to high standards, but always held herself to the highest.
Mary was preceded in death by her loving husband Alexander, who passed away in 2020; as well as their son Stephen, who died in 2021.
Mary is survived by her brother Milton; three of her four children: Vincent (Alma), Michael (Robin) and Constance (Mark); five grandchildren: Katharine, Mark, Jack, Joseph and Michael; and two great-grandchildren: Charles and Felicity.
A private family ceremony will take place in Maryland.
Donations can be made in Mary’s name to the Key West Garden Club or Hosparus Health, a Louisville, KY hospice.
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