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