Mary is generous, she is kind, she’s a survivor in more ways than one, but most of all she is the kind of woman that will always have a smile on her face.
Sitting down with Mrs. Kolmer, you will hear a number of remarkable stories about her long and eventful life. Every single story ends in a smile and a note that she is very grateful for the life she has lived. This is not to say there haven’t been difficult moments, but Mary has a very positive perspective on everything she has gone through.
In 1956, Hungary had been shaken by revolution, it wasn’t the best place for the Kolmers, and so they set off to find a new home. They spent years in England always trying to get into the United States. They had heard the promises of a new and great life, but were never able to move their family there. They wanted out of Europe and when Mary’s brother told them about where he was living, they found the home they had always dreamed of in Sault Ste. Marie.
September 29, 1959 was the day she reached Sault Ste. Marie. She began her life in Canada as a stay at home mom, raising her children while Stefan, her husband, worked hard at an auto body shop on Black Road to support their family. It was when Stefan got sick that Mary would step up to support the family. She got a job in the dietary department of the General Hospital. Sadly, Stefan passed away in 1983.
She had been so grateful to all the people at the Hospital that helped her husband that Mary started putting away small portions of money. She wanted to be able to say thanks one day. She worked at the General Hospital for 24 years and in that time she had faced her own health issues. She has been on blood thinners for 22 years for a clot in her lung, she has battled breast cancer, and she has recently been dealing with some other issues.
“At 94, what do you expect? I have had health issues, but every time I go to the Hospital, I get treated well and I always receive great care.” Mary speaks of her time in our local healthcare. “I had cancer and the whole world was on top of me, but I received wonderful care and they helped me get through it. I thank everyone (the healthcare providers at SAH) for being so kind and working so hard.”
Recently, Mary took the money she had been saving during her time working at the General Hospital and made a donation to the Sault Area Hospital Foundation. She wanted to give with her heart for all the help she had received from the people here. “I know how hard cancer is, if my gift can help make it even a little easier, I’ll be happy.”
Mary gave $50,000 to help purchase medical equipment that will help the healthcare providers at SAH, deliver the best possible care to patients of our Hospital. “I saved a little at a time hoping that one day it would help our Hospital give the great care that I received to others in need.” says Mary with a big smile on her face. “I am proud to be able to help.”
Mary survived uneasy times in Hungary, settling and raising a family in a new country, battling health issues and beating breast cancer, and she does it all with a smile on her face because she is happy to have lived the life she has lived.
On behalf of the patients of our community, past and present, we the Board of Directors and Staff of the Sault Area Hospital Foundation want to thank Mary for her kind heart and generous gift, but we also want to thank her for having such a positive outlook, a strong will and for truly embodying what it means to be community-minded.