Marie Regina Burrell Roberts, 97, of Carbondale, died Saturday, surrounded by family at Gino Merli Veterans Center. Her beloved husband of 71.5 years, Francis Leonard Roberts Sr., preceded her in death on June 23, 2015.
Marie was the only daughter of the late William and Clotilda Smith Burrell. She was a graduate of St. Rose High School (1940) and St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Carbondale (1943) where she received her degree as a Registered Nurse. On January 15, 1944 she joined the Army Nurse Corps at Fort Meade, Maryland as a lieutenant.
Two days later, her fiance, Francis Leonard Roberts Sr. — who was also enlisted in the Army — traveled by train to marry Marie in a private ceremony at a chapel on the Army base. The following day Francis returned to Wisconsin, where he was stationed; the new bride remained at Fort Meade Army Camp. A portrait of the times: a husband and wife readying for war.
Three months after their quiet wedding, Marie was deployed to Europe. Francis was sent shortly after.
Marie was an original member of the 99th General Hospital unit, one of the first hospital units to arrive in France after American forces entered WWII.
It would be more than a year, in the Spring of 1945, before Marie and Francis would see each other again — this time while on military leave in Paris. Marie recalled of the reunion, “I was too happy to cry.”
After discharge from the Army, Marie and Francis became the parents of seven children. For 22 years Marie worked as a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Carbondale. She retired in 1984 but continued to care for her many grandchildren for decades. She was also a volunteer for the American Red Cross.
Marie and Francis lived every moment of their nearly 72 years of marriage in their own home. They loved to travel and visited Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and all the places their children and grandchildren lived. Marie continued to live independently until her very recent health issues.
Marie lived a life of kindness, devotion and unconditional love. She said yes to every opportunity. She was fearless, funny and unlike anyone else. Both Marie and Francis loved unconditionally and without judgment — their example will continue to inspire and nourish their family for generations.
Her family would like to extend sincere gratitude to the staff at Gino Merli Veterans Center for providing excellent care.
Marie is survived by seven children and their spouses: James and Mary Ann Roberts of Carbondale; Karen and Vince Marino of Leesburg, VA; Thomas and Sally Roberts of Clifford; Gerald and Jodie Roberts of Arcadia, FL; Francis Jr. and Bonnie Roberts of Carbondale; Paul and Chrissy Roberts of Archbald; Marie and Joe Bishop of Waymart; 20 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; her brother Ronald Burrell of Manassas, VA; her sisters-in-laws, Marge Burrell, Gloria Burrell, Ann Burrell and Mary Lou McPhail; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
In addition to Francis, she was preceded in death by brothers William, Vincent, Gerald, Adelbert, Bernard, Frederick, George and Terrence Burrell.
The funeral will be Thursday, January 23rd from the Brennan & Brennan Funeral Home, Inc., 55 Lincoln Avenue, Carbondale, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 in Saint Rose of Lima Church, Carbondale. Entombment with military honors will be held at Our Mother of Sorrows Mausoleum, Finch Hill. Friends may call Wednesday, from 4 to 7 pm.
The family kindly requests no flower arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Fair Hill Therapeutic Riding Center, 1046 Cochecton Turnpike, Tyler Hill 18469 or St. Rose Church, 6 N Church St, Carbondale, PA 18407.
To send flowers to Marie's family, please visit our floral section.
St. Rose of Lima Church
6 N. Church Street, Carbondale PA 18407
Fair Hill Therapeutic Riding Center
1046 Cochecton Turnpike, Tyler Hill PA 18469