Let the memory of Mary be with us forever
  • 55 years old
  • Born on July 17, 1961 .
  • Passed away on October 21, 2016 .

Mary became inspired to move to Florida and work for Disney after visiting Disney World in 1975 and 1976. Many were the looks of disbelief on the faces of  the family friends that she told her plan to. She was adamant that she would leave Wisconsin upon her high school graduation before she had even reached the age of 18. And so, in 1979, that is what she did.

She began working at the Polynesian resort where she met another young new arrival to Florida. Roger Sveum had also left his family in the north, in his case North Dakota, to pursue his Disney dream.  They were married in 1984 in Milwaukee and honeymooned in Hawaii before settling in back in Orlando.

Mary and Roger wanted kids, but also loved to travel. They traveled the U.S.A, i.e. San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York City, and to Europe twice, Bermuda and other places. The boys came in 1988 (John), 1991 (Matthew), and 1994 (Christopher), and after 16 years at Disney, Mary became a full time mom and homemaker, a job that she loved even more. The family still travelled together. Mary loved the beach and it was always a short distance away for a family daytrip. The Disney Cruise Line also provided an occasional family getaway, as well as trips to the Carolina shore, Vero Beach and others.  

Mary  loved to cook and was always trying out new things and perfecting her skills. The holidays, especially Christmas were always special to her and her family, and she went to great extent with decorations, food and everything that went into making it magical. Her gardening was also a matter of great effort and pride as she wanted her home to have a certain look and feel, both inside and out.   She had a deep Christian faith and stayed active in Bible study and prayer groups with good friends.

Mary was a vibrant, loving person, and dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother to John's twins, Lucas and Layla. She was a great listener and was always ready to help out in any way she could. People that met her gravitated to her warmth and sincerity. She had a tremendous strength of character and determination. She was the heart and rock of her family, and she is dearly missed by many friends.   

Posted by Wendy Churchville on 23rd October 2017
It's been a year and two days since I got the message that Mary had gone home to be with Christ. I cannot say that it's any easier today to deal with the loss of my friend and mentor. There have been so many times this past year I wanted to talk to Mary, and just hear her laugh. Somewhere in our conversation she would always say, "I'm so glad I didn't know you when we were both younger, Wendy, because we'd have gotten in a lot of mischief together. We're both just too earthy." That always made us both laugh. I surely do miss you. Your faith and courage made a tremendous impact on my life. Continued prayers for "Mary's Men" . Mary loved you all so very much. Until we meet again, Mary. Wendy
Posted by Patsy Anderson on 27th November 2016
Mary was one of a kind, I will remember her fondly always cheerful and caring. We met years ago at Fort Wilderness what great memories I will always have of all the laughs we had together. She always spoke about her "hubby" with such love I don't think I ever met anyone who loved their husband so much! We were all very blessed to have had her in our lives. Now we all have an angel above ❤️❤️
Posted by Terri Willoughby on 14th November 2016
I have known Mary and Roger since I had their first son, John as a student in first grade. From there, I had all 3 of their boys AND taught them swimming lessons. Mary was a one of a kind. Generous, kind, loving, giving, and a real friend. I miss her already and feel I missed a lot by not staying in touch more these last few years. She is greatly missed. Mary, you are pain free, and in the place you love. We will all join you as you left Earth much too early.
Posted by Lu Ann Paulson-Oberg on 10th November 2016
Roger and family, I was so sorry to hear of Mary's passing. Although I never met Mary, I heard of her many struggles and triumphs. My thoughts and prayers are with your family at this difficult time.
Posted by Wendy Churchville on 7th November 2016
I first met Mary when she became an Addition in my 5th grade classroom. Little did I know at the time she was sizing me up to see if she wanted me to be Matthew's teacher the following year. Thank goodness I passed her test. Mary and I became forever friends. Mary helped me in my classroom several years in which time she shared her love, kindness, and faith in Christ to my students. Mary made a difference! Mary and I were in several Bible study classes together, shared secrets/hopes/dreams, laughed at how much we were alike in an "earthy" way, and we prayed together. Mary's smile and the sparkle in her eyes, no matter how she felt, made a dark room glow! I will greatly miss her. But, for Mary, I rejoice! I know the angels sang as Mary entered the gates of heaven to be in the arms of Christ.
Posted by Jeffrey Moone on 3rd November 2016
I had the opportunity to first meet Mary when I transferred to the Contemporary Resort front desk back in the early 80's. Mary was a lead at the time and extended patience whenever I'd have to ask a crazy question. She was always a pleasure to work with. It was great catching up last year when she and Roger came to the open house. So thankful for that opportunity to reconnect.
Posted by Kara Birrer on 2nd November 2016
Mary, Roger and their sons were absolutely wonderful neighbors for many years. Mary was often out in their yard when I would get home from work and I loved the times we spent just chatting, sharing prayer requests and praying. Her heart for the Lord, her family and everyone around her was evident in everything she did. I am so humbled and blessed to have called her my friend and sister in the Lord.
Posted by Sue McDaniel on 2nd November 2016
Mary was a fantastic friend that I had the blessing of Knowing.for 25+ years. We had so many wonderful and fun times together during our friendship. Mary's legacy was to "let her light so shine before men that they would see her good works, and give glory to her Father in Heaven." I'm certain that on October 21, 2016, Mary got to see Jesus face to face and hear those coveted words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." She will, indeed, be forever missed by me! I loved Mary more than I can express.
Posted by Wendy Mcgowan on 2nd November 2016
My friend I shall miss your sparkley eyes & happy smile. I thank God that you will always be in my memory. Your love of family friends and your faith will always be close to my heart.
Posted by Doyle Frisbee on 2nd November 2016
God saw the hill was getting steep, and very hard to climb, so he gently closed her eyes and whispered, peace be thine.
Posted by Debra Mayer on 2nd November 2016
Mary, my survivor sister, prayer partner, friend, inspiration - you were the perfect example of faith, love, forgiveness, hope, strength, kindness, survival and so much more! I will still look to you for these beautiful qualities that you shared with me, and all of those whose lives you touched. I am blessed to have been among them. I look forward to the time that we will meet again in Our Lord's precious arms! Loving you always, my friend!
Posted by Maria Lahens on 27th October 2016
My sweet Mary,that is what always called her.she was always polite and sweet even stuck s needles in her arm.love you my sweet Mary God may give Peace and strength on this difficult time.to Mr Gurgaon,roger and the kids John Mathew and Christopher your mother loved you very much.
Posted by Yvonne Hair on 27th October 2016
Mary's life is such a wonderful example of love, faith and generosity. What a special gift God has given me by placing Mary in my life. I will truly miss her sweet presence and love.

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