Age 84, passed from this world on April 3, 2023. Mary was born in Forest City, Iowa on January 9,1939 to Ernest and Alma Varner. As a child, she lived many places including Detroit MI, Chicago IL, and Cincinnati OH due to her father's work before finally settling in Mason City, Iowa. Mary's parents bought a diner there where both she and her sister Alice worked as waitresses, and where she met her husband-to-be Harlan Swaim. Mary and Harlan were married in 1960 and briefly moved to Albuquerque, N.M. where she worked as a telephone operator. She would talk about how much she loved New Mexico for the rest of her life! Mary and Harlan eventually moved back to Iowa, settling in Waterloo where they were blessed with four children: Kirk, Sheila, Darla and Briana. Their pursuits together while raising their children included traveling on family vacations, frequent visits to relatives in Mason City, playing pinochle with friends, and Mary's favorite activity: weekly square dancing! Although the marriage was dissolved in 1971, they maintained an amicable relationship for the sake of continuing to raise their children.
In 1975, Mary met Ernie North and their union blessed them with a child, Laina, in 1977. During this time, Mary was a bartender for several years at the El Toro Lounge, which suited her outgoing and friendly personality. She also pursued a degree as a machinist at Hawkeye Institute of Technology graduating at the top of her class and found placement at a local Waterloo tool & die company.
In early 1985, Mary decided to take Laina and visit her parents and her sister (& family) in Sacramento, CA. The following year, Mary went back to Sacramento to temporarily help with her mother's health crisis. But this time, Mary returned home only to pack her things, sell her house and come back to where her heart longed to be. A few of her grown children were already in Sacramento, and she brought the other two with her. Mary enjoyed the Sacramento average of 269 days of sunshine per year and never wanted to see the snow again!
Mary also enjoyed her work as an office manager at Irish Communications for 20 years before retiring in 2013. She always talked fondly about her coworkers to her family- they were definitely her "other" family!
In her youth, Mary was an accomplished accordion player, an avid bowler, an amazing cook, and an experienced seamstress. She loved country music, billiards, reading, card games, and the great outdoors. Her love of reading was her most common pursuit in retirement, along with traveling whenever possible. Her last trip was just in December to Monterey CA with three of her children where she was able to revel in her only visit to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and enjoy the ocean waves on the shoreline.
Her devotion and love for her children and grandchildren was her passion throughout her adult life. We have all been blessed to know her love and her generous spirit, which will live on in us always. She will be deeply and profoundly missed and remain forever in our hearts.
Mary is predeceased by her parents, Ernest and Alma Varner, her sister Alice Spencer, her daughter Briana Swaim, her grandson Jeremy Lonergan, and her foster daughter Becky Welcher. She is survived by: her devoted children, Kirk Swaim, Sheila Ruzanov (husband Tim Ruzanov), Darla Stuber, Laina North (husband Nathaniel Hall); five cherished grandchildren, Reina Everett (husband Justin Everett), Ryan Stuber (wife Veronice Garcia Stuber), LaiJonna Davis, Steele Welcher (wife Ruby Welcher), and Evan Welcher (wife Rachel Welcher); and five treasured great-grandchildren, Valentino and Aubriella Stuber, Charlie Everett, Alex Welcher, and Hildegard Welcher. Also survived by her brother-in-law, Frank Spencer, and numerous nephews, nieces, and their families.
A Celebration of Life for Marybelle will be held at Old St. Mary's Chapel, 5251 Front Street, Rocklin, CA 95677 on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. For memorial contributions, the family has designated Blue Oaks Cremation and Funeral Services, 300 Harding Blvd. #205, Roseville CA 95678