MADISON- Mary Ann Abrahams died peacefully on August 28, 2014 at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg.

A strong and independent woman, Mary Ann, known as Terry to family and friends, enjoyed life to the fullest. Born on September 23, 1921 to Yugoslavian immigrants John and Helen Novakovich, Terry died just a few weeks short of her 93rd birthday. Raised on a small farm in Eagle River, she learned the value of hard work and an appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. After graduation from Eagle River High School, she escaped to Chicago to live with her three older sisters, attend business school, and experience all that the big city had to offer. She especially enjoyed dancing at the Aragon ballroom.

Terry was a World War II veteran, enlisting in the United States Navy WAVES in 1943. Honorably discharged at war’s end with the rank of Yeoman First Class, Terry worked at USAFI, and then joined the Dane County Sheriff’s Department as a secretary. It was at the Sheriff’s Department that she met her husband, Chief Deputy Sheriff Reynold “Abe” Abrahams. She stayed home to raise their daughters Charlotte and Linda, rejoining the workforce after Abe died in 1971. Terry held several secretarial positions, the last one as an Administrative Assistant for the State of Wisconsin, from which she retired in 1990. Until her short stay at Agrace, she lived independently in the same home that she and Abe bought in 1952.

Terry was a joyful person. She loved spending time with her girls and their families. She was passionate about dancing. She taught ballroom dancing early in her life, and later took up line dancing and square dancing. She would drive miles for a dance, and stay until the last song ended. Terry loved any type of exercise, especially walking. She wanted her life to be filled with fun and good times, and she made that happen.

Terry’s faith in God was strong. She was a charter member of St Thomas Aquinas Church and, until recently, never missed weekly mass. She believed in the power of prayer. Throughout her life, many of her prayers were answered.

Our mom was truly special. Our hearts are full with both grief for our loss and joy that she is no longer in pain. Thank you, Mom, for all you did for us. We will cherish forever the memories we made with you.

Terry is survived by her daughters Charlotte (Arnie) Norris of Michigan City, IN and Linda (Phillip) Vorlander of Waunakee. Terry is further survived by her granddaughter Nicole (Michael) Candela of Palatine, IL. Phil’s two sons, Jamey and Bill Vorlander, and Bill’s son Michael Vorlander, all of Madison, affectionately knew her as Grandma Terry, or GT, and will miss her very much.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Abe, and all her siblings Barbara (Victor) Nelson, Ann (George) Vogel, Helen Novak, Joseph (Carol) Novak and Jon Novakovich

Terry’s family would like to thank all her caregivers over the last month, especially her doctor, Jennifer Everton of Associated Physicians, an extraordinary physician. A very special thank you to the staff of Agrace HospiceCare. Terry and her family found such peace there. If you feel the need to do something in remembrance, please consider a donation to Agrace. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to her wonderful neighbors, Julie, Katie and Steve, Tony and Kate, and Thad. Thank you for your years of concern, and the friendship you shared with Terry.

As Terry directed, there will be a private funeral at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church with burial next to her husband Abe at Resurrection Cemetery.

“If you don’t learn to dance, the angels won’t know what to do with you.” St. Augustine