Mary Jean Paris, born February 9th, 1924 in Armendaritz in the Basque Country of France, passed away peacefully with her family on March 10th, 2021 at the age of 97. She was the second oldest of nine children born to Jean and Marie Louise Legarto.
Always a caring and helpful person, Mary Jean left home at the age of 12, working to help generate income for her family. In 1948, she immigrated to the United States and became a proud American Citizen. After arriving in Reno to work in a boarding house, she went to visit her brother, who was herding sheep for Bertrand Paris Sr. in Ely. While there, Bert Sr. asked her to stay and care for his daughter Grace’s, two young children, Jerry and Roy Christiansen. During that time, Mary Jean met and fell in love with her husband of 63 years, Pierre “Pete” Paris Sr. They were married in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ely, Nevada on September 9th, 1950.
Mary Jean was a ranch wife, a mother, and a devout Catholic dedicated to the Holy Rosary. She was very active in her children’s school and 4-H activities. Over the years, she took in numerous children of friends and relatives, instilling in them her hard work ethic and giving them the gift of life on the ranch. She and Pete Sr. lived on the ranch until 1998 and then moved to Ely where they ran a small hobby farm. They rebuilt old sheep camps and tended to one of their son’s livestock in the summer months.
After 63 years of marriage and the passing of her husband, Mary Jean moved to Elko to be closer to her family. She spent her remaining years quilting, watching the cattle, and enjoying the scenery of the Ruby Mountains. She will be remembered for her selfless giving, her strong work ethic, and her extreme love and support of family and friends.
Preceded in death by parents, Jean and Marie Louise Legarto; seven of her siblings; husband Pete Sr.; children Mickey and Grace Marie; and granddaughter Sophia.
Survived by sons Pete Jr. (Rama), David (Dena), and Mark (Kim); eight grandchildren; eleven great grandchildren; sister Helen in France; and numerous nieces and nephews in the US and in the Basque Country.
A Funeral Service in celebration of Mary Jean will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ely, Nevada at 11 AM on Friday, March 19th. There will also be a Rosary at Mountain Vista Chapel in Ely on Thursday, March 18th at 7 PM. Donations can be made to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Box 151026 Ely, NV 89315) or to a charity of the donor’s choice. If you have a quilt made by or with Mary Jean, we ask that you bring to share at Friday’s Service.