With an extremely heavy heart, I share the passing of my mama, Mary Helen (Davis) Krebs. She passed away in the comfort of her home on September 5, 2023, after a courageous lifelong battle fighting mental illness. She had bipolar disorder. She also had grit that propelled her through many successes in her 75 years of life, despite the ups and downs.
She is proceeded in death by her mom and dad, Malvern (Holman) and Clyde Davis, and her big sister, Honey Davis. She is survived by her daughter, Karen Strolia, her son-in-law, Matt Strolia, and her two grandchildren, Samuel, and Chloe Strolia, all who will continue to share the stories of her life, lineage, and legacy into the next generation.
Mary Helen was born in Smithville, Texas on December 27, 1947. She moved around Texas with her family before landing in Denison, Texas where she attended high school. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in business, she started working for John Deere repossessing farm equipment, where she met her husband, Ronald Krebs. Together they moved to Nebraska and had a daughter, they named Karen. Three short years later, after divorcing, Mary Helen moved back home to Texas to rear her daughter alone in Wylie. She worked at Safeco Insurance Company pushing to be the top sales Surety Bond Manager, gaining national recognition.
Despite these challenges she faced, Mary Helen gave her daughter a beautiful and loving childhood filled with cherished memories like giving the best hugs, making the best pork chops, celebrating the best Christmases, twisting to Elvis Presley in the living room, being the best softball team mom, hosting amazingly fun slumber parties, and swimming laps in Lake Lavon. Her love and devotion knew no bounds, and her enduring influence will forever be felt in the lives of Karen and her family.
Mary Helen had a passion for many things in life. She was a devout Catholic where she remained grounded in her spiritual convictions during some of her greatest mental health challenges. She had a fierce shoe collection. Her favorite movie was “Gone with the Wind”, which she watched on repeat while sewing for days on end making beautiful clothes for herself and for those she loved. She loved to read anything by Stephen King. She loved to reminisce about the rich childhood she shared with Honey. Mary Helen had an unapologetic passion for surviving. She was constantly fighting against her biology to live a “normal life”. She was a fierce advocate for herself and for others who were navigating similar experiences with mental health.
In this time of grief, I remember my beautiful, fragile, spirited mama for her resilience and tenacity in the face of adversity. She taught me how to get scrappy when things really matter, and how to get back up when you’ve been knocked down. She was wicked smart, so funny, and filled with an overabundance of love. My family and I will cherish the beautiful moments we shared with her.