Cover photo for Maria (Mary) Mercedes Pagán's Obituary
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1945 Mary 2023

Maria (Mary) Mercedes Pagán

February 4, 1945 — December 31, 2023

New Lenox, Illinois


Maria (Mary) Mercedes Pagán, age 78, passed away peacefully at her home in New Lenox, Illinois on December 31, 2023, at 2:20 p.m.

Mary is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 54 years, John Pagán, and her beloved daughters; Maria Elena (Nick) Goutos, Patricia Pagán, and Veronica Pagán, and her adored grandchildren; Isabella Valentina Pagán, Ryan Joseph Drysch, Liam Johnathan Drysch, and George John Goutos, her close-knit siblings; Joseph Soto (Rachel), Rosemary Enriquez (José), Frank Soto (Diane), Edward Soto (Sharon), Gloria Tumino (Sam), and Tony Soto (Joyce), her numerous nieces and nephews, her many beloved students, colleagues, the members of the St. Jude Catholic Church, and the wonderful Knights of Columbus.


She is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Maria Soto, and her sister Margie Leinweber. Mary will be forever remembered for her loving and generous heart. She always put others before herself, even when she was sick. She was always wanting to help those in need however she could. Mary was a caring and patient person, and those who knew her were filled with the warmth of her kindness and compassion. Mary devoted her life to teaching children, especially her own, while always remaining devout in her Catholic faith. 


Mary was a dedicated Chicago Public School teacher for over 40 years. She started her teaching career at Lafayette School in Chicago and worked at many schools, including Wicker Park (now A.N. Pritzker School), Brighton Park School, and Burroughs School, to name a few. While teaching at Wicker Park School, A.N. Pritzker invited Mary and a few of her students to visit the White House, and while there, they met Vice President, Walter F. Mondale. She was a Golden Apple Award nominee and was immensely dedicated to her profession, Mary made learning fun, and her students were always eager and excited to attend school. She truly touched the lives of her students and colleagues throughout her tenure at Chicago Public Schools. 


Mary delighted many with her culinary talents and artistic flair and found immense joy in sharing those creations with family and friends. She was very proud of her family and her Mexican heritage. Mary embraced both she and her husband’s cultures, by passing down Mexican and Puerto Rican customs to their children and grandchildren. As the matriarch of the family, she leaves behind an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing her, and her absence will be deeply felt by those who loved her. 


Services for Mary will begin on Friday, January 19, 2024, with a memorial visitation from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Kurtz Memorial Chapel, 102 East Francis Rd in New Lenox, Illinois. Services will continue the following day, January 20th, 2024, with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Jude Catholic Church, 241 West 2nd Street in New Lenox, Illinois at 11:00 a.m. Mary will be laid to rest at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.


In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to the Lustgarten Pancreatic Research  Foundation (


Kindest regards,

The Pagán Family


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Maria (Mary) Mercedes Pagán, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Friday, January 19, 2024

3:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Kurtz Memorial Chapel Ltd

102 Francis Rd, New Lenox, IL 60451

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, January 20, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Saturday, January 20, 2024

12:45 - 1:15 pm (Central time)

Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery

1400 S Wolf Rd, Hillside, IL 60162

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