Born to hard working parents on a farm in Burke, New York on the Canadian border, Mariella (Casey) Frush had both humble beginnings and a spiritedness that would later help to define her character. Her father, Tom Casey, an educator and veteran of WWII, forever remained in her heart and became the object of never ending expressions of love that Mariella loved to share in her later years. Her mother, Shirley (Boissey) Casey, a nurse and woman of tremendous strength of character, was a force to be reckoned with and, although Mariella would have hated to admit it, is where a lot of her strength came from which she drew from to deal with life’s ups and downs. Mariella attended Notre Dame Elementary and Franklin Academy in Malone, New York leading to an associates degree at Paul Smith’s College. These institutions and Mariella’s academic accomplishments were far from what made her who she was rather it was in these schools that she started making friendships that would last her entire life and define her as a person. This was her true accomplishment in life - her genuine ability to share her love and make friends. There is a line in one of Mariella’s favorite songs that goes, “Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands, the ones I love. Some folks just have one, yeah others they’ve got none…” Mariella would need all her fingers and toes - and then start counting on the fingers and toes of friends - to tally that count, and this was her true accomplishment in life. Her successful career was nothing in comparison to her success at developing friendships - both professionally and personally. Her laughter was infectious, and her smile and twinkling eyes were what made Mariella a true success in life for they were born of a deep love and devotion to her friends and family that many of us overlook on our roads to success.
In Mariellas’ later years, when dementia had gripped her, it’s her mothers’ strength and her fathers’ gentle love that surfaced in her and made her a true joy to all who knew her. Mariella kept making friends to the very end, and she would approach total strangers thinking she knew them - sometimes with tears in her eyes - saying, “It’s you!! I love you!” and, as she would gently reach out to touch their cheek, “you’re beautiful!” These chance meetings brought an indescribable joy to all who encountered Mariella’s surprise ‘love attacks’ and would often lead to spontaneous group hugs with total strangers and her adoring husband who loved nothing more than to share Mariella’s love with the world. Through Mariella’s entire life, and especially near the end, she had a lesson to teach the world, and that was simply that love could make the world, in some small way, a happier place. Little things began to make all the difference to her… a ride in her open top Model T with her husband where she could look at clouds and animals (she especially loved baby goats!) and barns and pretty farmhouses. She loved to see the moon and never failed to point it out saying, “look how pretty it is!” Those rides would almost always end with a stop for ice cream which she loved even more than her husband or baby goats. Mariella lived an ordinary life, but had an extraordinary impact on so many. She was an inspiration to all who knew her, and leaves so many friends behind as she travels on new roads - friends who have been forever touched by her love and laughter. Wherever she is, it’s certain that she’s creating a beautiful, comfy home just like the one she left behind, with endless rooms and beds with exquisitely soft pillows and soft blankets to envelope all her friends in softness and love who might, one day, be knocking on her door again.
Please keep The Community Hospice in your hearts when you think of how much love surrounded Mariella. Angels live amongst us, and Mariellas’ angels are Pamela Russell, Jenny Nealon, Janet James, and Mariellas’ “angel and a half” - the lovely Maggie Poole. If anyone would like to donate in Mariellas’ memory, she would very much like for you to consider a generous tip to the waitress who works so hard to please you, or the man holding the cardboard sign at the red light or, best of all, just be kind to people, and donate a hug or a smile to someone who looks like they’re having a rough day.