Mary Len Wartenberg
Mary Len Wartenberg
  • November 27, 1924 - November 9, 2017
  • Pacific Grove, California

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Mary Len (M.L.) Wartenberg (nee Cerney)
Nov. 27, 1924 - Nov. 9, 2017

Mary Len (M.L.) Wartenberg passed away Thursday, Nov. 9, after a lengthy illness. M.L. lived on the Monterey Peninsula for most of her life, and had been a resident of Forest Hill Manor since 2011.
She was our beloved, compassionate, and tireless friend, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, mother (6 kids), mother-in-law, grandmother (8 grandkids) and great-grandmother (8 great-grandkids).
Mary Len, her parents, and four brothers moved from Omaha, Nebraska to the Monterey Peninsula in 1936, a long, hot, cramped ride in a two-door sedan. Her father purchased the Oak Grove Market in Monterey, where the whole family eventually settled in.
M.L. was educated at several local schools, including Robert Down Elementary where her daughter, Judy, later taught for many years, Salinas Junior College and San Jose State, where she met her lifelong friend, Allis Marie McCormick.
When she saw an ad for stewardess training after WWII, M.L. enrolled and was hired by United Airlines as part of the first generation of cabin safety attendants. While at United, she survived a very serious plane crash, but also met her future husband, Captain E.D. Wartenberg. Unfortunately, the rules at the time did not allow stewardesses to be married, so M.L. chose family over career and left United in 1948.
After marriage on Jan. 28, 1948, the family lived in Levittown, New York. Four children later, they moved to a new home in Huntington (Long Island), New York. In 1968, they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and, in 1975, moved back to the Monterey Peninsula where her parents still lived.
Here M.L. began to volunteer her time at the Sally Griffin Center (Meals on Wheels) and ended up staying for 28 years! She continued to design and paint birthday cards and thank-you notes for the Center long after she stopped working in the kitchen. During this time, she also served as a Board Member at the Alliance on Aging, dedicated to providing senior services to the local community. She started taking watercolor lessons with Nancy Johnson and Anita De Carlo, two well-known local artists. Her interest in art led to volunteering for Museum on Wheels where she taught art lessons in classrooms throughout the county with a van full of hand-crafted art from around the world. She also volunteered at the Monterey Museum of Art in their Creative Response program, bringing paintings and art lessons into the local classrooms for six weeks at a time.
Traveling became a passion as well - including France, England, Greece, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and New Zealand. M.L. enjoyed learning the local history and art, and always found time to draw and paint the scenes as she travelled the U.S. and beyond.
And we cannot forget to mention Molly, the cat, Mom's constant companion for many years. Molly bought great joy to M.L.'s life after her husband's passing.
M.L. was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Everett Dawson (E.D. or Daws) Wartenberg, in 2000. E.D. flew for United Air Lines for 35 years. M.L.'s parents, Len & Ellen Cerney, longtime Pacific Grove residents, have also passed, along with three of her brothers, Frank, Reid (survived by wife Ann Cerney of Lodi, CA) and Len (survived by Lloyd Arnett of Redding, CA).
M.L. is survived by her children: Judy (Judge Tom) Wills of Pacific Grove, Christopher Wartenberg of Mesa, Arizona, Michael (Kathy) Wartenberg of San Marcos, CA, Matt Wartenberg of Santa Rosa, CA, Lisa (Gil) Garza, of Fremont CA and Mark (Debbie) Wartenberg, of Redwood City, CA. Her brother, Tom Cerney, is alive and well and living in Redding, CA with his lovely wife, Jane.
We feel very lucky to have had M.L. as such a wonderful mother and friend for so many years. She instilled in us a love of books and poetry and art and music that will always be a part of our lives. We have so many memories of a life well spent. Thanks Mom.
We must thank all the staff at Forest Hill Manor for their incredible care and concern over the past several years, especially Vickie and Arely on the Assisted Living floor. We also want to thank VNA & Hospice, and especially Lauren and Marquita. We will never forget the quality care M.L. received from so many people.
In lieu of flowers, you may send donations in M.L.'s memory to VNA & Hospice, 45 Plaza Circle, Salinas, CA, 93901; Meals on Wheels, 700 Jewell Ave., Pacific Grove, CA, 93950; or Friends of Pacific Grove Library, Box EH, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950. Arrangements under the direction of The Paul Mortuary, Pacific Grove, CA.