Trumbull woman, 41, remembered with ‘silly,’ irreverent obituary

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — Mary Sullivan Balogh always loved to go just a little bit too far.

“She had a complete willingness to make (a fool) of herself at the drop of a hat,” said her brother, Michael Sullivan.

So when Balogh, who died April 16 after being ill with cancer for six years, knew the end was coming, she wanted to make a splash with her obituary. Balogh, 41, of Trumbull, brought together Sullivan and a friend and they worked to compose a tribute that perfectly captured her personality.

“She was very specific in not wanting it be dry and boring,” Sullivan said.

Mission accomplished.

According to the obituary, Balogh “would like her successors to be chosen through a triathlon: bull riding, karaoke and dog licking. Three things that she excelled at. Or rather, did regardless of the performance.”

It also mentions that she “attended several colleges, earning numerous bumper stickers but most importantly her husband of 13 years, Phil.”

The obituary also describes cancer as “Mary’s companion for the past six years, an unwelcome little bugger that tried like a (expletive) to slow her down.”

Sullivan said it was his sister’s wish to have a “silly” obituary, and she went so far as to present him with a collection of other tributes she had found online.

“We’d have these sessions with Mary where we would sit in the front room and throw out these stupid ideas,” Sullivan said.

The result is an obituary that memorializes Balogh as someone who “would take the mic at people’s birthday parties and make it about herself. She would promise to sing a duet on karaoke and sing both parts. Poorly. Very poorly. But always with gusto. Gusto is another word for very poorly.”

Her husband, Phil Balogh, said the tribute perfectly captures his wife, who loved being inappropriate and over the top.

“She loved smiling and always being a little bit outrageous,” he said.

Mary’s sense of humor was on display nearly until the end of her life, and not just in her obituary. Sullivan remembered one incident, about a week before his sister died, when she could barely speak. She was lying in bed with her eyes closed and winced in pain.

Her brother leaped into action, wanting to know if she was OK.

“She opens one eye and says ‘I’m just checking your reflexes,’” Sullivan recalled.

Mary Balogh also had an enormous heart, her husband said. The couple adopted their two sons, now 8 and 10, when their oldest was 2 and their youngest was 3. They also have two dogs, and it was long Mary’s dream to have more, Phil said.

“She had often told me she wanted to buy a home and have a bunch of rescue animals,” he said.

Balogh was also the kind of person who connected people to one another said her friend Kate Quinn of Trumbull.

“She’s one of a kind — larger than life,” Quinn said. “She was the glue that held everybody together. She wanted everybody to be together and be friends.”

In lieu of flowers, Balogh asked that donations be sent to Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, a New Jersey-based charity that raises money for research into pediatric cancer. Trumbull resident Jim McCaffrey is vice president of the group. He lost his 6-year-old daughter Mia to a rare form of cancer in 2017.

On her 40th birthday, Balogh raised money for the foundation in Mia’s honor, McCaffrey said.

“This kind of generosity and light was who Mary was,” McCaffrey said. “And now, she honors the mission of our foundation by requesting donations at her wake. She has always been there for my family. Additionally she was also there for me as I battled lung cancer in 2020. Her texts and conversations always brought peace and I felt her empathy. I will miss her dearly.”

A memorial service will take place Monday, April 25 at Abriola Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Rd, Trumbull, CT from 4 to 7 p.m. Visiting will be from 4 to 6:30, with a service at 6:30.

Memorial contributions may be made to https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTQzNTQz.