Service Date March 9, 2019
A Memorial Service honoring Mary Pat will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Piasecki-Althaus Funeral Home, 3720 39th Avenue.
Mary Pat Andrea, 69, died peacefully at Brookside Care Center, Friday March 1, 2019, after a prolonged journey with Frontotemporal Dementia. Mary Pat was born Dec. 18, 1949, the eldest of eight to Alfred G. and Elizabeth Anne (Isermann) Andrea at St. Catherine’s Hospital, Kenosha, WI.
Mary Pat attended St. Mark Catholic Grade School and St. Joseph Catholic High School class of 1968. She graduated from Rosary College, now Dominican University, in 1972. Through the Inter Future program of Princeton University, Mary Pat studied a year abroad in Ghana, Africa and Galway, Ireland, comparing the nationalism and cultural arts of both countries.
From an early age, while still in grade school, she exhibited great creativity and leadership. Along with her neighborhood friends, she started a neighborhood summer theater in her parent’s basement, a neighborhood newsletter, and in 1956, the Allendale Fourth of July children’s parade that continues to this day.
Upon graduation from college, her first marriage to David Gillece brought her to Baltimore, MD a city she came to love and in which she joyfully invested her creative talents for many years. It is in Baltimore that she started her career as a graphic designer, eventually becoming Art Director for Baltimore Magazine.
In 1976, working closely with her parents for Jack Andrea’s, Mary Pat created the Kenosha Hometown collection of mugs, t-shirts, tea towels and throws celebrating Kenosha, her hometown.
The success of the Hometown collection, at Jack Andrea’s, inspired Mary Pat to start her own retail business, Hometown Girl. That led to the opening of her store, Hometown Girl, as one of the original tenants in Baltimore’s revitalized Harbor Place. In 1984, she married fellow Kenoshan, Christopher Swift who joined her in the business and helped her to open additional stores in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. In 1984, she joined forces with her siblings in Wisconsin, opening Celebrate Wisconsin stores in Door County and Milwaukee’s Mayfair and Grand Avenue malls. She went on to operate a total of nine retail stores which carried product of her designs celebrating each of these local communities.
In 2004, after her divorce from Christopher Swift, Mary Pat moved back to Kenosha to join Jack Andrea, the family business.
Mary Pat was active in many community organizations in both Baltimore and Kenosha. She will be remembered for her creativity, vision, and passion as well as her talent in home restoration and historic preservation.
Mary Pat is survived by her daughter, Susannah Swift; her siblings, David (Kathryn) Andrea, Catherine Preziosi, Susan (Terry Schlenker) Andrea–Schlenker, Caroline (Andrew) Vaaler and Ann (Jim Anderson) Andrea; brother-in-law, Scott Bruss (Carol Engel) and her dear friend, Mike Foster. She is further survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Mary Pat was preceded in death by her parents, Al and Anne Andrea; her brother, John Mark Andrea; her sister, Jane Andrea Bruss; her brother-in law, Paul Preziosi; her paternal grandparents, Jack and Theresa Andrea, and her maternal grandparents, Anthony and Caroline Isermann.
Mary Pat’s family would like to thank the staff at Parkside Manor; especially her dear caregiver, Rita, Brookside Care Center and Hospice Aurora for the exceptional care they provided. The family would also like to thank her longtime school friends, Kathy, Linda, Joan, Jennifer, Debbie, Roz and Kim, they will not be forgotten.