Mary Lou (Morocco) Kalanja, 91, of Trafford, passed away at home on October 13, 2020 after a long and brave battle with Parkinson’s. She was born during the Great Depression to Tony and Rachel (Cannillo) Morocco on April 27, 1929 and lived most of her life in Trafford. She graduated from Trafford High School where she was a star on the women’s basketball team. Shortly after graduation, she married her soulmate, Robert J. Kalanja who died in 2018. They were wed two months shy of 70 years. They had two children and together ran a successful Italian grocery store, Bob’s Market, in Trafford, for many years. When Bob decided to finish his college teaching degree at Pitt, Mary Lou ran the grocery store herself in support of his passion to teach. Inspired by this, Mary Lou became a teaching assistant for the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit where she worked with special needs children for 37 years. She was a life-long member of St. Regis Roman Catholic Church. Her main interests were cooking and baking, reading, watching the news, crossword puzzles, keeping an immaculate home and tending the needs of her family whom she adored. She was devout in her Catholic faith and was an inspiration to all who knew her. She is survived by her children Diane (Dennis) Persin of Greensburg and Bob (Cyndi) Kalanja of Trafford who cared for her in her final years. She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren, Diane (Richard) Economakis, Mary (Daniel Meyer) Persin, Dennis (Sarah) Persin, Robert (Emily) Kalanja and Elizabeth (Jon) Augustine and five great-grandchildren Anthea, Leo, Andrew, Sophia and Jack Robert all of whom she loved deeply. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her her husband, Robert, her brother, Martin Sonny Morocco and her beloved dog, Meg. In addition to her children and grandchildren, she leaves her siblings, Vincent (Emma) Morocco, Antoinette Morocco, Donna Morocco and Tony (Marilyn) Morocco and nieces, nephews, family members and friends who loved her. By the family’s request there will be No Public Viewing. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Regis Catholic Church, followed by her entombment in the New St. Joseph’s Cemetery Mausoleum, North Versailles. The family would like to thank Mary Lou’s wonderful doctor, Dr. Patricia Coyle, Anova Hospice and Sequoia Home care who provided our mother with much love, support and quality of life. In remembrance of Mary Lou, donations may be made to St. Regis Catholic Church, 517 Homewood Avenue, Trafford or the Mother Cabrini Society, 434 West Denning Pl, Chicago, Illinois 60614. The John M. Dobrinick Funeral Home Inc., 702 7th Street Trafford 412-372-3111 is assisting the family with arrangements. www.dobrinickfhinc.com
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