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In loving memory of
Mary Ann “Mike” Cruse
  • March 20, 1941
  • -
  • October 26, 2020

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Mary Ann “Mike” Cruse  

20 March 1941 – 26 October 2020  


Mary Ann “Mike” Cruse, age 79, passed away peacefully on 26 October 2020 after a 19-year battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  In the last year she took on breast cancer and Guillain-Barré Syndrome and in the end she left this life as she lived it, on her own terms.

She grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and got her moniker from the old Irish “Pat and Mike” jokes; her older sister, Patricia, being Pat.  Her father was a musician and he played an impressive studio grand piano which Mike took lessons on and learned to play beautifully.  Music, and in particular the piano, would become a constant companion in her life and it brought out her extroverted side.

Mike moved to Florida in her late teens and though contracting tuberculosis and losing her father young, she never lost her positive attitude.  That strength of spirit was commented on by those who knew her throughout her life.  She went on to work in clinical psychology, nursing management and hospital software installation & training where her positive energy helped others see what they could achieve.

She was a perfectionist with a bent toward organization and knew how she liked things done.  She enjoyed knitting, watching murder mysteries and thought that TiVo was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  She had wonderful expressions that we still hear in our heads: “speecy-spicey”, “tasty no-nos”, “bump it up to six liters!” and “wrap me like a burrito”.  If you know of more, please feel free to add them to her Tribute Wall.

Mary Ann “Mike” was preceded in death by her brother, Bill.  She will be sorely missed and is survived by her sister, Patricia Hutt; her three daughters and their spouses: Siobhán & Pekka Toveri, Gillian Cruse & Linda Tills, and Sabrina & Per Madsen; her grandchildren Brendan Nolan, Katie Nolan, Alex Madsen and Christian Madsen; plus many nieces, nephews, grandkitties and a grandpuppy.  All of these she loved and touched deeply.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the AdventHealth Orlando Pulmonary Rehab unit or AdventHealth Winter Park (link below).  She worked and received rehabilitation at the Pulmonary Rehab unit, and she volunteered and received treatment at AdventHealth Winter Park, her “home away from home”.

A virtual celebration of Mike’s life is planned for her birthday in March and per her wishes, a party will be held when we can all stand together and raise a glass to her, hopefully next summer.

Donation link:


For Pulmonary Rehab, select “Cardiovascular Care”.  The rehab unit is funded through this care group. AdventHealth Winter Park has its own drop-down listing.  Please check the box, “I would like to make this donation a tribute” and select “Tribute Type – In Memory Of”.  If you would like the family notified of your donation, please check the box, “Notify the following person about my tribute” and enter Gillian Cruse at gillian.cruse@gmail.com.  AdventHealth will not share your specific donation amount.

Tribute Wall

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  1. 10 Jan 2021
    Cindi Spurgeon says:
    I just heard about Mike. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. My favorite memory of her is her and my boyfriend sitting on the piano bench playing music. May her memory be a blessing

  2. 20 Nov 2020
    Tracey Nadrchal says:
    When I first met Mary Ann she was buzzing around town in her 5 speed Mazda playing piano at the hospital or lunching with her best gal friends. She was always up to something and in her own words a “spit fire”.
    Her talents of knitting and music amazed me. She was so generous with her time. She was patient -reminding me “no sweat “. A good listener giving advice when needed
    As the years passed I became more than her housekeeper. I was her friend, assistant and chauffeur and that’s when the fun really began. She loved to shop, as do I many stores in a day. Getting her over haul with Ellen and Jennifer once a month. Driving through old winter park neighborhoods especially during holidays. Great restaurants and good food- not to speecy spicey. Mini Health bars/chocolates. She loved British TV mystery and sit coms.
    I was honored to have her in my life. I love and miss her, my friend

  3. 11 Nov 2020
    Rosemarie Fernandez lit a candle:
    Lit since November 11, 2020 at 11:36:34 AM

  4. 11 Nov 2020
    Rosemarie Fernandez says:
    She will always be my Auntie M, as i loved to call her. I will miss our conversations and her insight to lots of things. She was always there for everyone, even during her difficult times. She was a fighter and inspiration to all of us. I always loved the impromptu concerts on the piano and the little songs she comes up with. Her "visa" song roles through my head daily and I always smile when I think of it and her. She left an empty place at our family table, but she will always be with us in our hearts and minds. I know she has joined god's chorus in heaven and is entertaining everyone again. I miss you and love you Auntie M. i know you are watching over us and whispering in my ear what to do. Until we see you again, Hang Tough

  5. 07 Nov 2020
    Diana Sisley says:
    My sincere condolences to her family. Mary Ann was a bright light in this world and in this community. For much of the time that I knew her, she was too ill to be in her own home. However, she remained one of the kindest and most positive people I had ever met. She made an impression on all of us here in WBP, and she will be missed.

  6. 07 Nov 2020
    Siobhán Toveri posted an image:
    Sep 2016
    Sep 2016

  7. 03 Nov 2020
    Gillian Cruse posted an image:

  8. 01 Nov 2020
    Janice (Jan) Smith Knecht says:
    My sincere condolences go out to Mike's family & many friends. I attended DeLand schools with her & we graduated in the class of '58. She was always such a joy to be around. Where ever there was a piano, her playing drew a crowd. Her spirit, her wit & laughter just made you feel good. Mike visited with me in my Winter Park home & we would spend the day knitting & crocheting. On several occasions I visited with her while she was hospitalized & we had some good laughs. Her display of courage, no matter what issue she was battling, was so up-beat & that strong Irish attitude always prevailed. Now that her struggle on earth is behind her, my prayers are for peace and comfort & freedom from her illnesses in her ever-after life. I will miss you "Mike".

  9. 31 Oct 2020
    Paula Mooty says:
    OK Mike, no more Toojays for us now because God needed a pianist for the heavenly choir! I'll never forget meeting you at Toojays pulling your O2 behind. Thank goodness for the creation of the little portables! And there was the time you showed me the "shortcut" from Altamonte to Lake Mary on the back roads (I still don't remember the route and still don't drive I-4).

    I'll miss your humor and kindness and a laugh that was contagious. I has been a blessing to have crossed paths with such a delightful, intelligent soul as Mary Ann Letford Cruze.
    God's peace to all her family.

  10. 31 Oct 2020
    Paula Mooty posted an image:
    My favorite REDHEAD "Mike". She could turn a phrase!! Sorry you missed my call.
    My favorite REDHEAD "Mike". She could turn a phrase!! Sorry you missed my call.

  11. 31 Oct 2020
    Paula Mooty posted an image:
    A gathering class of 1958
    A gathering class of 1958

  12. 31 Oct 2020
    Paula Mooty posted an image:
    Christmas 2006
    Christmas 2006

  13. 31 Oct 2020
    Billy B says:
    Mike & I played a lot of music together to our mutual satisfaction and joy. I have missed her very much since moving to the frigid North, and now she has gone I shall miss her even more. Gillian, I still remember when I first met Mike at a get together you organized at her apartment in Winter Spgs. We immediately hit it off with tunes like ‘Rainbow Connection’ and ‘Galway Bay’. I have you to thank for our introduction. My sincerest condolences to you, Sabrina, and Siobhan.

  14. 30 Oct 2020
    Harvey Dunn says:
    My heart goes out to Mike's family. I, like so many other members of the Class of '58 of DeLand High School will miss Mike. She will be remembered for her wit, talent, intelligence, and friendship.

  15. 30 Oct 2020
    Teresia R Chase says:
    For things that Mike used to say: if she hadn’t seen you in awhile, even if she had talked to you or texted you, she would say, “I want to SEE YOUR FACE!”
    Mike was a true night owl. We couldn’t call her before noon because she didn’t go to bed till 4 am. She began most of her conversations, “Basically. . . .” She loved Chinese food, especially dim sum and wanton soup. She ordered Singapore sai me fun MILD! She loved dumplings and always bought potstickers at Costco. She insisted on driving a shift car with no frills. Every family party held, Mike invited her “other family”, her knitting, music, and movie friends. If you had ever learned even to play the scales on a piano, Mike would encourage you to do duets with her, and she’d get you to play amazingly well. She was irresistible, unsinkable, always cheerful, and there for you if you needed her. A true friend.

  16. 29 Oct 2020
    Bill Fernandez says:
    Quite a lady! I remember she shared that she played the grand piano at various hospitals in Central Florida. She was the pianist in the lobby playing. Really appreciated her independence, courage and fortitude in taking on the world on her terms. Real bulldog and fighter who would not give up even after facing repeated bouts with health problems. Had to admire her! Intelligent, gracious, loving and caring. What else can one say? She was an inspiration and great Aunt to my three kids: James, Rosemarie and Warren Fernandez. Loved her. She will be missed. Bill and Linda Fernandez

  17. 29 Oct 2020
    Marcy Kysilka says:
    MaryAnn was such a nice neighbor at Baldwin Park...I admired her courage and friendship. Peace to her family and friends.

  18. 29 Oct 2020
    Nancy P posted an image:
    Mother's Day 2018.  I believe this was a spirited discussion about portable oxygen tanks.  Of course Mike took the prize for having the best one!
    Mother's Day 2018. I believe this was a spirited discussion about portable oxygen tanks. Of course Mike took the prize for having the best one!

  19. 29 Oct 2020
    Elwood Headley says:
    Gillian, Sabrina and Siobhan. Our condolences on your loss. Your mother was a very special person. She was exceedingly intelligent and had an outstanding career at Shands and then with hospital based computer systems. I was always impressed with how she could take complex information and make it understandable. Her piano playing was legendary and I spent many an hour being entertained. But her true virtues were her good humor, pleasant nature and can do attitude. She handled her illness with courage and fortitude and set a high bar for us all. I will miss Mike and feel that someone very special is no longer with us. All our best to the three of you. Elwood and Curtis

  20. 29 Oct 2020
    Susan D Burley lit a candle:
    Lit since October 29, 2020 at 10:40:43 PM

  21. 29 Oct 2020
    Susan D Burley says:
    Gillian, Sabrina and Siobhan. Mike was a dear friend and will be greatly missed. The Knit or Knot meetings were never the same when you were not present. You encouraged us all. You challenged me to try lace knitting and my first attempt won a blue ribbon. Sending prayers and blessings to your family and all the wonderful people whose lives are better for having known you. Miss you, love Sue

  22. 29 Oct 2020
    Siobhan Toveri posted an image:
    Mom lunching with friends, Apr 2018
    Mom lunching with friends, Apr 2018

  23. 29 Oct 2020
    Nancy P says:
    Gillian, Sabrina and Siobhan. We are so sorry for your loss. Mike was a trooper. She endured so much and took it in stride. She navigated her health issues full on and never felt sorry for herself. I don’t know of too many people who had the attachment and fondness for their home away from home, a hospital, like Mike. She kept those people on their toes, for sure. She may have even spurred some into early retirement:) Mike, like her daughters, was brilliant and talented. I am lucky to have worked with and learned from her. God Bless you and everyone who is hurting from the loss of Mike. With Love, Mike and Nancy Przybylowski

  24. 29 Oct 2020
    Terry Chase says:
    Mike, we will miss your spirit, your energy, and your good nature. Indefatigable. Always bouncing back from every illness. I keep expecting you to show up at my door as you often did, a day after you were in the hospital, with some little gift, something to share. Our knitting group was at its best when you kept minutes and encouraged everyone to participate. A piece of your Swedish weaving hangs on my towel rack as a reminder of the beautiful work you did. Your eBay finds were legendary. You were fun to be with. You were a true and loyal friend. I love you.

  25. 29 Oct 2020
    Terry Chase posted an image:
    My favorite picture of Mike. It shows her lovely smile and her blue eyes.
    My favorite picture of Mike. It shows her lovely smile and her blue eyes.

  26. 28 Oct 2020
    Siobhan Toveri posted an image:
    Mom and Siobhán, Sep 2016
    Mom and Siobhán, Sep 2016

  27. 28 Oct 2020
    Siobhán Toveri posted an image:
    Mom and Elwood, Sep 2016
    Mom and Elwood, Sep 2016

  28. 28 Oct 2020
    Gillian Cruse posted an image:

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