2002-05-04 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

Mary Dever: Embracing, Part Duex

On May 25th it will be five years since the much beloved Jerry Dever succumbed to the brain cancer that took his life. On June 21st, a community event will take place: Mary Dever will marry Jim Kelly at Saint Frances de Sales Church. How did Mary get to "here" from "there", from the darkest moments of her life? Her story of loss, pain, and the ability to turn the page and move on to a new chapter in the rest of her life is an inspiration to us all. Having been a gifted Teacher for many years, Mary Dever, through life's lesson of loss, can express her gift and teach a most valuable lesson of all.

"After Jerry died and I went through the natural process of bereavement and counseling, I wondered, "what'll I do with the rest of my life?" Here, I had just lost my soul-mate, partner, and husband of twenty-six years. He was every part of my life and then...he was gone. I've always had a steadfast relationship with god and I knew that I had a purpose to continue. It was only through prayer and meditation, through the Psalms as stated in the Bible "Share your pain and loss with others" that I was able to somehow move forward."

Many people who have experienced the loss of a loved one are unable to get past their grief. Like a needle on a record, they stay stuck in that one painful place and they can ruminate there for a very long time. Mary found that it was only through the experience of talking, sharing, and giving of herself to others who were in pain, that she could be helped to embrace life again. "Because I've walked the walk, I am able to talk the talk", says Mary. From 1998 to 1999, she went to the Taber Retreat House in Oceanside Long Island where she participated and offered her services. It was there, in Oceanside, the same town where she had first met Jerry, that she met Jim Kelly on October 15, 2000, a widower, who was working through the deep
sorrow of losing his wife Ellen. "There are so many parallels that run through our lives. Just as I knew the moment I met him that I would someday marry Jerry, I had that same immediate feeling when I met Jim Kelly. Since I am very spiritual, I felt and recognized the profound signs. I knew that it was god's way of saying to me, "I am always with you, it's O.K. to move on."

Both Mary and Jim Kelly devote much of their lives helping others to move on with theirs. They are role models and an example of an end becoming a new beginning. They invite those in the community who have experienced loss to a "Greeting A Loss Weekend Retreat" at Saint Paul's Center in Douglaston on May 31 thru June 2nd. "The loss could be through the death of a loved one, but it could also be through divorce, or serious illness, or the loss of a job." explains Mary. The retreat is based on the experiences in the book, "Praying Our Goodbyes" by Sister Joyce Rupp. The book uses the seasons of the year as the natural cycle of life and explains how the end of one season is the beginning and rebirth of a new season of life. The review states, "With the touch of a Poet, Sister Joyce Rupp has written a book about these experiences of leaving behind and moving on. The stories of union and separation are written in all our hearts. Praying Our Goodbyes is about the spirituality of change." The videos which have helped Mary in her spiritual development are: Trust And Lean On God, Hope, and Wait, Watch, Work, and Don't Give Up. If you would like to attend this up-coming healing retreat, you may call St. Paul's Center at 718-229-8001 ext. 310 for details.

Mary knows that Jerry Dever would want her to move away from the deep sorrow of his passing to the deep joy of living again with love in her life.

"We talked about it", states Mary. "He told me he would want me to experience love again and to re-marry after he was gone. Jim's wife Ellen told him that she would want him to know love again and to re-marry also.
When you've known and been blessed with a loving relationship, you naturally want to repeat the experience."

On June 3rd Middle School 180 will be formally dedicated The Gerald R. Dever School. On June 21st Mary Dever and Jim Kelly will marry at Saint Frances de Sales Church. She knows that both Jerry Dever and Ellen Kelly will be there with them. Their nuptuals will surely be a community event. In addition to their now expanded family of seven children (Jim has six. Mary has one son,
Michael.), many from Far Rockaway, Arverne, Belle Harbor, Roxbury, and Broad Channel have been invited to attend.  Lt. Troy and Sara (nee Ford) Bradwisch, along with their baby son Connor will attend from as far away as Japan!

Monsignor Martin Geraghty will officiate as the main Celebrant as well as at least five other local Priests. In keeping with her commitment to and support of the community that she dearly loves, Mary has enlisted only local services. The couple has purchased their rings at A&J Jewelers on Beach 116 Street, they will use JKS Enterprises for the printing of their invitations, they will host their Rehearsal Dinner at The Atlantis Room, and their Wedding Reception will be held at The Silver Gull.

Mary learned through pain and loss Bernie (Bernstein?) from The WAVE became a grandparent along with his wife, Sharon when their daughter,

Rebecca and husband Adam Ross presented them with their new grandchild, Elisheva Ross who was born March 26. Belated Congratulations. Family and friends go together this past weekend to celebrate the happy occasion.

that the bell will toll for thee, as it will eventually for us all. But for now, the spirit of life and love will be heard in the bells that will ring in celebration of their wedding. As you embrace the blessings of life again, may it be a beautiful season! My deepest congratulations and best wishes to Mary and Jim and their family.

See Ya – On The Beach


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