Mary  Goco

Obituary of Mary Louise Goco

Mary Louise Goco, (nee Humes), a retired nurse and beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died September 5, 2021 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. She was 87. She was born to Louis Vernon Humes and Mildred Clare Humes on March 31, 1934, the second of two daughters. Her father was a streetcar conductor and telephone operator who was awarded the Purple Heart medal for his service in France during WWI. Her mother was a Polish immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child and worked as a seamstress. Mrs. Goco’s early years were spent in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, where she developed a life-long appreciation for the city and its culture. Despite its development and transformation over the years, she always remembered the area as the rough and tumble port of her childhood and never understood why later people would want to go out there for a night on the town. With the death of her father of tuberculosis in 1943, her family was forced to split up and Mary went to live and work with her grandmother, who ran a boarding house on Broadway Avenue. Many of the patrons were students at Johns Hopkins University Hospital across the street, which opened the world of medicine to her. After graduating from Eastern High School in 1952, Mary attended nursing school at Church Home and Hospital. The nursing school later joined with Johns Hopkins and Mary would be considered a graduate of the same school as the students she had cleaned up after in her grandmother’s boarding house. Mary graduated in 1956 and then worked as a nurse at Church Home where she later became an evening supervisor on a med-surgical floor. She later recalled that she did not mind the late shift at that location because “up on the fourth floor you could look down Broadway towards the end of the street, and there was the docks and the wharfs where the ships would come in. I would come in and enjoy looking out in the morning and see the sun rise from there.” At Church Home and Hospital she also met a Filipino doctor named Rolando Valencia Goco. Their relationship became the example that proved the rule, and nurse and the doctor fell in love. Rolando and Mary wanted to have their wedding in Baltimore close to their friends and family, but Maryland’s segregation laws would not permit them to marry there. They would have to travel out of state to have their union graced in the eyes of the law and the Lord. They were married at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., on July 2, 1960. Doc and Mary soon started a family and moved out of Baltimore to Laurel, MD -- first to the Maryland City neighborhood in 1964 and then to the Montpelier community in 1969, where they raised two daughters and five sons. After her first child, Mary turned her care from her patients to her children. Her nursing skills proved invaluable as her seven kids had their share and more of illnesses and injuries and may have increased their rowdy and risky behavior knowing that emergency medical services were always available at home. She supported her family’s pursuit of sports and fitness, and spent most of their early years watching them swim and play at the Montpelier Swim and Racquet Club and shuttling them from one practice, meet or game to the next. To instill a love of learning and understanding of the world, she made sure her home was always full of magazines and books so the kids couldn’t help but pick one up. The trick worked as all her children excelled in school and went on to achieve college and graduate degrees in a variety of fields. Having grown up near the wharf, Mary Louise learned to appreciate Maryland seafood and imparted the love of steamed blue crabs and crab cakes to her kids. She always made sure food was plentiful in the home to feed her large family, whether from the store or the family garden. Neighborhood kids knew to come to the Gocos’ house for the occasional meal, as well as the snacks and candy maybe not available at their own. Mary was a lifelong pet lover and would be seen walking her various dogs, large and hairy, in all types of weather at all times of the year around the Montpelier neighborhood. She also got her exercise through water aerobics at the local pool, both in Laurel and later in Tucker, GA. With her husband working the long hours of a doctor, Mary knew that a steady hand at the tiller was necessary to guide her children, but also knew that a gentle touch was better than a firm grip. She made sure to grant her children the freedom to pursue their interests, and her calm and cheerful demeanor helped give them the confidence to achieve their goals. Mary and Doc were able to raise kids who were happy together as a family, and also nurture them as individuals with their own thoughts and desires, providing the focused attention they needed and cherished. As her kids grew up and moved away, Mary was always sure to keep up with them and their own children without intrusion or judgment. She took great pride in their accomplishments and looked forward to watching over them, as always from a distance, at holiday gatherings, at beach vacations in North Carolina and Delaware, and at her daughter’s weekend home on Lake Hartwell, Georgia. Her broad smile and cheerful laugh let all know they were noticed, welcomed, and appreciated. Mary was proud of her Catholic upbringing and was a fixture at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Laurel, MD, and later Holy Cross Church in Tucker, GA. She never forgot the hardships of her youth and made sure she and her children remembered the obligation to serve those less fortunate. After humble beginnings, Doc and Mary were able to live a comfortable life. They never did place much value in traditional measures of wealth, and instead assessed their lives by their family – its success and cohesion – and judged themselves rich beyond measure. Mary survived the passing of her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Justine James, in 2007 and husband, Dr. Rolando Valencia Goco, in April 2019. She is survived by two daughters, Dr. Patricia Estrella Kelly of Tucker, GA; and Linda Maria Peletski of Clarksville, MD; five sons, Dr. Paulino Edwardo Goco of Murfreesboro, TN; Lorenzo Vernon Goco of Arlington, VA; Rolando Nicholas Goco of Arlington, VA; Norman Joseph Goco of Carrboro, NC; and John Ramon Goco of Columbia, MD; eighteen grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. Due to the pandemic, a celebration of life reception will be held at a later date.
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