Mary Jean (Cena) Lemos

Born: Fri., Apr. 9, 1943
Died: Mon., Oct. 10, 2011

Recitation of the Rosary

7:00 PM Fri., Oct. 14, 2011
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church

Funeral Mass

1:00 PM Sat., Oct. 15, 2011
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church

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Mary Jean Cena Lemos was born in Weed, CA on April 9th, 1943 to Gino and Lea Cena.  The second of 5 children, Mary spent lots of time with her brothers Robert, Francis, and David Cena.
Mary also grew up with the amazing influence of her Nona Linda Cavarzan.  Her mother and grandmother taught her the Italian Language, the art of gardening and the finer points of Italian cuisine.  Anyone who stepped within Mary’s kitchen, shared a potluck, or bought a coffee wreath at the Christmas bazaar, knows of the wonderful aromas and flavors that she could whip up.  
As soon as she was old enough to read, she began singing in the church choir with her father Gino. People in Weed still talk about how beautiful it was to hear them sing together.
After graduating from Weed High School she attended College of the Siskiyou’s in Weed, and then transferred to College of the Holy Names in Oakland. She graduated from Holy Names with a degree in education, and began teaching at Weed Elementary soon after. That was the beginning to a long and fulfilling career where she influenced many young lives.
In 1965, Gino and Lea added Linda Ann to the family.  This long-awaited sister was a blessing to Mary, who doted on her baby sister for the rest of her life. The same year she began dating her brother Rob’s friend Jimmy Lemos.
She became Mary Lemos on June 24th, 1967, the start of a partnership that would last 45 years. Jim was her best friend, fishing buddy, hunting guide, constant support and love of her life. During their life together Mary and Jim welcomed the births of five children: Suzanne Marie in 1968, Lisa Diane in 1970, Daryl James in 1973, Sarah Christine in 1978, and Jarod Anthony in 1985. Prior to establishing their family in Burns, Oregon they lived in Eureka, CA where Mary taught at an elementary school while Jim began his Master’s degree at Humboldt State. They also briefly lived in Corvallis, OR while Jim worked on his PhD at Oregon State University. The family spent five years in Coos Bay, OR, where Jim was employed by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife conducting elk research.
At the end of the elk research project in 1976, Jim was transferred to the Steens Mtn. Mule Deer project stationed in Hines/Burns. Mary quickly fit right in with Eastern Oregon life and soon became a regular in the church choir, singing at funerals and weddings, and substitute teaching in all the schools.  She enjoyed participating in community musicals and is remembered for such key performances as Maria in The Sound of Music, and Nancy in Oliver. Mary enjoyed over fifteen years as a Girl Scout leader, playing her guitar and singing many campfire songs. She became the coordinator of the Religious Education program at Holy Family Church, and continued in this ministry for almost a quarter of a century.
She became a Noni (Grandmother) in 1996. Mary and Jim would travel often for events to see their nine grandchildren: Devin, Mikenna, Ellery, Landon, Cameron, Brycen, Raleigh, Brianna and Brent. The grandchildren loved sharing time with their Noni singing, laughing, story telling, picking veggies from the garden, fishing for catfish, having tea parties, baking bread, French-braiding hair, pulling baby teeth with her magic hankies, and puzzle-making.
If there was a song to be sung, a crossword puzzle to finish, a volunteer needed at the Senior Center, a warm loaf of bread for dinner, or an encouraging word, everyone knew they could call on Mary.
Since her passing we have heard from so many people who’s lives were enriched by the generosity, compassion and love of Mary Lemos. We are blessed to have had her as a wife, mother, Noni, sister, aunt, Godmother, teacher, or friend. Although she is no longer with us she will sing in our hearts forever.
She is survived by her husband Jim, of Burns, daughter Suzanne Yeakey and husband Jon, of Redmond, daughter Lisa Jones and husband Greg, of Hermiston, son Daryl Lemos and wife Jodette, of Nampa, ID, daughter Sarah Evans and husband Morgan, of Vancouver, WA, and son Jarod Lemos and wife Natalie, of Burns; 9 grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Gino and Lea Cena.
Donations in her memory may be made to the CAN Cancer foundation.  CAN Cancer is a non-profit organization that provides funds for transportation and lodging to cancer treatment patients and their families in and around Central and Eastern Oregon.  LaFollette's Chapel was in charge of funeral arrangements.
St. Charles Foundation c/o CAN Cancer
2500 NE Neff Road
Bend, Or 97701-6015

Charitable donations may be made in Mary's memory to the following organization:

CAN Cancer

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