Teresa Marusiak McMullen, age 61, died on Friday, May 22, 2020, at home peacefully with family by her side.
Teresa was the wife and best friend of Lawrence McMullen for 39 years; beloved daughter of the late Margaret and Walter Marusiak; revered mother of Hugh, Emily, and Laura McMullen; loving Nana to Thomas Roscoe and Ronan McMullen; and baby sister to Cathie Kasarda, Mary Campbell, Susan Waldo, and Irene Mergen. She is also survived by the many nieces, nephews, and circles of friends she loved very much, and her devoted dog Lily.
Teresa was loved and will continue to be loved for her strength, compassion, creativity, and commitment to making everyone she could feel welcome and included.
She married Lawrence McMullen in a dress and hat she sewed herself in 1980, and since then they set an example as the kinds of partners, parents, and friends everyone wants to be. Many will remember feeling welcome and well-fed at “Larry & Teri’s,” whether it was a legendary, loud summer pig roast of over 100 guests, a warm, sweet Christmas gathering, or impromptu drinks and laughs and more drinks in the backyard. Wherever they called home -- which included Central Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, Southern Ohio, and eventually Pittsburgh -- Teresa and Larry never stopped making new friends and always left an impression on their community.
She put care and creativity into being a mom. Days were made a little more magical from scavenger hunts, a costume idea, a quick but elaborate picnic, or a handful of comics from the flea market. She had a half dozen weird accents and voices to expertly deploy to get a chuckle out of her kids. But she also believed in never talking down to or lying them, nor letting them win board games, ever. Teresa was also a welcoming parent. Friends knew the McMullens’ was a fun, safe place to hang out on the weekends, and that likely there would be cookies.
Teresa impacted the lives of hundreds of people with developmental disabilities through her career of over 30 years, serving in many roles including Executive Director of Orion, Inc. in Wilmington, Ohio and Program Administrator at Champaign Residential Services, Inc. in Urbana, Ohio. She was a fierce, relentless advocate for people with disabilities, ensuring the needs and ambitions of anyone, no matter their physical or mental limitations, were heard, respected, and effectively addressed. Through her dedication to inclusion, people who no one thought could ever work found a job they were proud of, and people who were never expected to leave their house enjoyed their first parties, road trips, and friendships.
In addition to a treasured partner and friend, accomplished mother and grandmother, and leader in her field, Teresa was a talented creator with an entrepreneurial drive. Through the years she flipped antiques out of a rusty hatchback, sold beautiful homemade Christmas wreaths out of her garage, and volunteered to design and create hundreds of costumes for theater productions at Springboro High School where her children attended. Most recently, she went into business as “Cookie Mama,” making her famous cookies for weddings and parties in the Pittsburgh area.
Family and friends are welcome at Beinhauer Funeral Home, 2828 Washington Road, McMurray (724-941-3211) on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. "All guests will be required to wear a mask or facial covering and our staff will monitor attendance to ensure gathering restrictions and everyone’s safety”. As soon as everyone is able to gather safely -- fingers crossed on her next birthday in September -- the family will welcome everyone to celebrate Teresa’s life with a night of cookies, drinks and laughter she would be proud of.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you try to welcome and include someone who might feel like they’re alone or on the outside, and think of her. Please share tributes at Beinhauer.com