Maribeth Joan Wodzien was born on October 7, 1960 in West Des Moines, Iowa to Leo John Wodzien and Shirley Ann Wodzien (Hedman). She was the youngest of four daughters, welcomed into a house already bustling with so many young ladies! Her father’s role as a salesman took her from West Des Moines to Michigan to New York City and finally back to Chicago, where both parents had their roots.
She lived on the Northwest Side of Chicago in Edgebrook, attending Saint Mary of the Woods and Taft High School. She later attended Eastern Illinois University until she decided to follow family friends, the O’Neils, to Scottsdale, where her heart and soul longed to be. It was in Arizona where Maribeth met the love of her life, Mark Schwanz.
Living in Arizona, she was an avid hiker, making sure to get a walk in before the sun went down each day. She loved to cook, receiving a lot of pleasure out of putting together a meal to share with others. Maribeth’s talents also extended into writing, especially in the form of poetry. Many of us in the family have been recipients of this priceless gift.
As an event planner, she was proud to share the beauty of Arizona’s desert, culture and destinations. She was recognized for her genuine enthusiasm and knowledge of Arizona’s best kept secrets.
Being the youngest, Maribeth had a very special bond to her mother, Shirley. Over the years, Maribeth surprised her mom with many extravagant trips around the world! Their favorite being a trip to Switzerland. It was a memory that was held dear for many years.
Despite the distance between Chicago and Arizona, Maribeth managed to be with her family for holidays, special occasions and vacations. Maribeth was a wonderful, doting aunt to her nieces and nephew, taking so much pride in being part of their childhood and adult lives. She made sure to have special dates with each of them, resulting in a very strong and loving bond between them.
Maribeth was diagnosed with MS in 2015 Unfortunately, it was progressive and drastically changed her life. Through the challenges of living with this disease, she never stopped thinking of others and her concern for their wellbeing. In the last year of her life, there were multiple loving hands required in her care. Everyone was touched by Maribeth’s faith, humor, kindness and grace in battling the extreme challenges of this disease.
Maribeth left our lives here on June 22, 2022. She was preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Morgan Marie and parents, Leo and Shirley Wodzien. She is survived by her loving and devoted partner, Mark Schwanz; her sisters, Jeannine Doyle, Nancy Doyle, Susan Gatziolis and her husband Dean. She is also survived by her nephew Alec, his wife Meghan, their children, Dean, George and James, and her nieces, Dana and Jenna Gatziolis.
Mass is planned for Thursday, July 21, 2022 at 10:00 am in Our Lady’s Chapel at OLPH in Glenview, IL at 1775 Grove Street. Interment will follow at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Techny, IL.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one or both of the memorials made in Maribeth’s honor. Firstly, to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (
), which was a key resource in Maribeth’s ongoing care. Secondly, to the planting of a memorial tree to restore the forests devastated by fire. This was a cause near and dear to Maribeth’s heart. (
To view the funeral service please see the link below.