Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Mrs. Mary E. (Rebarchak) Shorts, 85, affectionately known by family and friends as “Tootsie,” passed peacefully into eternal rest on Friday, September 2, 2022 while in the care of Allied Services Hospice Care inpatient unit, surrounded by her family. She has now joined her husband of 64 years, Wilbert J. Shorts; after his passing just three short months ago on June 3rd. A life-long resident of the North End section of Wilkes-Barre, Mary was born on Thursday, May 20, 1937. She was the daughter of the late Andrew “Ribby” and Emily (Rusnak) Rebarchak. Preceding her was her younger brother Joseph Andrew Rebarchak on August 24, 2006. She graduated from the former Sacred Heart of Jesus Slovak parochial school, and later from the former James M. Coughlin High School class of 1954. She was employed by the Social Security Administration for 35 years, retiring early in 1994 to help care for her parents.
Mary had a strong devotion to her Catholic faith. She was a member of the recently closed Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, North Wilkes-Barre; having been a life member of the former Sacred Heart of Jesus Slovak Church until its closure. Tootsie participated in two Papal Masses, both in Philadelphia. The first was celebrated by the late Pope John Paul II in 1979 and the second, more recently by Pope Francis in 2015.
While there were many adventures, Mary’s greatest joy was her family; including her children, John "Jack" Shorts and his wife, Molly, Harvey’s Lake; Cathy Prosser, Buffalo, N.Y.; William P. Shorts, North Wilkes-Barre; Thomas Shorts and his wife, Irene, also of North Wilkes-Barre; Diane Carter and her husband, James, Sweet Valley; 18 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; several generations of nieces, nephews, and cousins that are spread out from Connecticut, through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Carolinas and down into Florida. In addition to her family she deeply loved her extended friends that she considered family, including Kathy and Charlie Tyahur; to whom the family is grateful for the extraordinary care they have shown both she and Wilbert these last few years. Ever proud of her Slovak Heritage she was a member of the Slovak Catholic Sokol organization and the ladies auxiliary of the North End Slovak Citizens Club.
Tootsie wore many hats during her life. She was a den mother for the cub scouts; participant and then president of the P.T.A.; parish bazaar chairperson; constant chaperone for generations of grandchildren; she was always a bright light during Sacred Heart School days. One of the many hats she wore was her affinity for ceramics, so much so that she and her dear friend Sally opened their own shop. She really cherished the relationships she had with those that stopped in the shop to paint with them. Another hobby of hers was BINGO with her other dear friend Audrey.
Ignoring all health guidelines, Tootsie was known for her 365 day-a-year tan. She was a lifelong supporter of the Coca-Cola, Hershey Chocolate, and Morton Salt companies. Because of her exhaustive schedule it was not uncommon to catch her napping. It could have been at the drive-in movie theatre with a station wagon full of kids, a Broadway play, or at a roadside rest stop on a lengthy trip with grandkids and dogs aboard. When not napping or enjoying downtime from her grandchildren you could find Tootsie with a good James Patterson book in her hands. She would often be seen in the neighborhood walking to work, taking her dog(s) for a walk whether it be Spotty or Ernie, or a quick trip to the corner store for a $1 lottery ticket and a frozen Coke slushy to go with her popcorn at night.
Tootsie loved her hometown, but she also liked to go on excursions; so many trips that her collectable magnet souvenirs from each trip hold her refrigerator together! She looked forward to her annual fall trips to Myrtle Beach, and summer beach trips with the family. Tootsie joined the late Monsignor Francis J. Beeda, S.T.L. on his annual church trips when he was pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Hazleton; visiting Williamsburg, Mount Rushmore, Hilton Head, to Nashville and beyond. In 1992 she took a trip to San-Francisco and unbeknownst to her, she gained another grandchild while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge on her birthday. She had such a love for her grandchildren that she took four of them solo to Disney in 1993. Given the opportunity after a Boston Red Sox game, Tootsie got to run the bases at Fenway Park. Her favorite trip of all time was visiting her daughter Cathy in Germany in 1984 and attending the 350th year of the Oberammergau Passion Play.
Tootsie’s final advice she left was…“When you are young you want to be old and when you get old you find out it’s not so hot and you want to be young, so just take it easy”.
Relatives and friends are invited to join Tootsie’s family for a time of shared remembrances and visitation Tuesday evening from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at the John V. Morris Family Funeral Home Inc., 625 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre.
Her funeral Mass will be conducted on Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. in Corpus Christi Parish, 605 Luzerne Avenue, West Pittston. The Reverend Monsignor John J. Sempa, pastor, will serve as celebrant and homilist. Those attending are asked to assemble directly at church by 9:45 a.m.
Interment with the Rite of Committal will follow next to her husband in Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Cemetery, Dorchester Drive, Dallas.