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Mary Rose (Bilger) Alonso
May 22, 1930 - Feb 25, 2012
Posted by Janet Laubhan Flickinger


Mary Rose Bilger Alonso, passed away suddenly on February 25, 2012. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. on March 3, 2012, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 421 E. Acres St, Norman, OK.

She is survived by daughters Beth M. Alonso, Esq. of Luther, OK and  Renee A. Alonso, M.D., of Springfield, IL; son Mark R. Alonso, R.N., of Long Beach, CA; sisters-in-law Angelina Antonelli and Martha Bilger; and grandchildren Sam Harper-Alonso, Adam Waters, Kelsey Waters, Ramon Harper-Alonso, Robin Waters, Maria Cooke, and Angelea Cooke.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Ramon C. Alonso, Ph.D.; her parents, Alphonse Bilger and Sophia Sonnelitter Bilger; sister Helen C. Bilger Kirkland; brothers Raymond A. Bilger, Eugene J. Bilger, Edward J. Bilger, William R. Bilger, and James G. Bilger; brothers-in-law Victor Antonelli and Donald Kirkland; sisters-in-law Lois Bilger, Jane Bilger, Avalon Bilger, and Antoinette Tedesco Bilger; son-in-law Robert F. Waters; and grandson Aaron Cooke.

Mary was born in Eggertsville, a suburb of Buffalo, NY, on May 22, 1930. She attended St. Benedict’s parochial school and graduated from Amherst Central High School. She was inspired to become a nurse by the illness of her mother, who died when she was seven years old, and by World War II.

In 1951, she graduated from the nursing program at Buffalo General Hospital which was affiliated with the University of Buffalo, and completed the New York Registered Nursing licensing examination. Mary’s early nursing career took her to positions in medical-surgical nursing at Buffalo General Hospital and DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda, NY, pediatric nursing at Kenmore Mercy Hospital in Kenmore, NY, private duty nursing in the Albany-Schenectady, NY area, and an appointment with the Schenectady Visiting Nurses Association, during which time she made house calls.

In 1974, Mary and Ray moved to Oklahoma, where Ray accepted a position as a professor at O.U.’s College of Business and Mary started her work at Goddard Health Center at O.U.  Mary began as a staff nurse, became a supervisor, and became Acting Director of nursing services.  She completed O.U. development courses and received certificates in “Basic Management and Supervision” and “Intermediate and Advanced Management Supervision.”

In 1977, Mary and Ray took a semester-long global trip, during which time he taught and she did comparative studies of student health issues and health providers in Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, and at the World Health Organization in Switzerland.  She also accompanied Ray on four summer trips to Linkoping, Sweden and served as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for visiting Swedish faculty of the College of Business at O.U.

Mary was a member of the Oklahoma Nurses Association, for which she served as a delegate and state treasurer in 1979 and 1980.  She was a representative and president of the University of Oklahoma Professional Staff Association, and, in 1981, she received the “Professional Staff Outstanding Achievement” award.  Mary’s community service also included service as “Nurse of the Day” for the Oklahoma Legislature, teaching breast self-examination for the American Cancer Society, and conducting hypertension screening clinics. A high point in her professional service was team teaching a class with her physician daughter, Renee.  In 1986, Mary earned a nationally-recognized American Nursing Association certificate in Nursing Administration.

Mary retired from her position with O.U. in 1991.  In 1992, she became active in the Cleveland-McClain County Retired Educators, serving as a committee chair, membership chair, member of the legislative committee, and organization treasurer.  In 2003, she received an award for being a “Very Important Member” of the retired educators’ group.

Mary was a member of The Red Hat Society, Golden Agers, and the St. Bridget Guild of the Women’s Club at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Mary and her friends from Flora Dr. and Dogwood Dr. walked nearly every morning and met for luncheons.  She was a member of the Norman Community Choral Society for several years and enjoyed genealogical research, gardening, and computer projects.

Mary moved to Springfield, Illinois in March, 2010, to enjoy some time with her daughter Renee and her grandchildren there.  She continued her community service in Springfield, IL by being active in an AARP group, a chapter of The Red Hat Society, a knitting group at a senior citizen’s center, and St. Agnes Catholic Church.

In light of Mary’s deep commitment to nursing and education, the family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Mary B. Alonso Nursing Scholarship Fund at University of Oklahoma Foundation, Inc., 100 Timberdell, Norman, OK 73019 (www.oufoundation.org)

Arrangements for  Mary and her family were placed in the care of the Vice Family at Havenbrook Funeral Home of Norman.

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