Mary Kathleen Pino, 65, of Cheyenne, Wyoming went to her heavenly home on June 27, 2023, surrounded by her family after a battle with melanoma. On a glorious day, December 9, 1957, Mary was born to Milton and Darleen Bittinger, instantly making the world brighter with her presence. She grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her two younger brothers, Jim and Mark, and remembered her childhood as an idyllic time of her life, which she recalled fondly, playing with neighborhood friends, being carefree, and fending off two annoying brothers, especially during hot summer cross-country family trips, stuffed in the back of a hot camper.
In 1972, at the age of 14 Mary met her lifelong friend and sweetheart at Roller City Roller Rink, a long-haired, wild, charismatic boy, Steve Pino, whom she married on November 21, 1975. Together they joyfully, and at times tryingly, raised three beautiful children and a granddaughter.
She had many interests including her love of fiber arts. She stitched beautiful works of cross-stitch, her quilting was exquisite, and she sewed much of her children’s and grandchildren’s clothes. Her love for poodles was unbounded–teeny poodles, of which there were many throughout her lifetime. Her greatest joy was being deeply involved in her children’s lives and their friends’ lives. Mary was PTO president at their elementary school and volunteered at their elementary school helping teachers and students alike. Mary’s deep devotion to her children continued into their adult lives as they made their way in the world, regularly coming together for large and boisterous family breakfasts and dinners.
Mary was a Girl Scout Leader for eleven years and one of the bravest adventures she endured with her girls was an annual ski trip to Steamboat Springs, CO where she “camped” in a loud, echoing school gymnasium with hundreds of giggling girls for an entire weekend. During those eleven years she took her girls camping, often in tents whipped by Wyoming winds, cheered them on as they sold a zillion cookies usually trudging through snow and sleet, and worked tirelessly with them on badges focused on community activities.
Mary was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. She was Mary, Mom, Nana and GiGi. While it can be said that her family was her priority, she never met a soul she didn’t treat as her own family. Her ability to never judge made her home a welcome landing place for many lost souls from all walks of life. She never turned away anyone in need. There was always food, a bed, a couch, a safe harbor and abundant love. For Mary, she saw only the good in people, the potential they had to succeed, and she cheered them on until they did, teaching countless people the true meaning of unconditional love. Her generosity molded the lives of many in need who continue to carry her values and compassion. Even when facing personal adversity she always managed to be a light, be hopeful, find glimmers of joy, and express gratitude. Her very presence was a comfort to be around. Mary radiated light and love.
While Mary’s home was always a safe landing place for many, before venturing outside the home for work Mary took on the childcare of many children for years. Those were lucky children to be cuddled and loved. She was a pushover for a sad face and a few crocodile tears. Mary found time to pursue career opportunities away from home. She worked at Sears Portrait Studio for fifteen years evoking smiles and giggles from the most obstinate children. That career led to an interest in personal photography. She found time to take long weekend Scrapbooking retreats with her daughters, and very good friends. She loved gardening and watching her flowers grow every summer especially iced tea irises. From Sears she moved to Schrader, Aragon and Jacoby Funeral Home greeting and comforting the bereaved and broken who were fortunate enough to meet Mary’s face first when walking through their doors.
Mary set the standard for humanity and humility and for kindness and generosity. She was one of those rare people who truly lived by example. Her legacy of kindness, generosity, and capacity for love will live on in all who have been fortunate to have had her in their lives. May those of us who knew her strive to meet her example.
Left to cherish her memories are her husband, Steve; her children, Joseph Pino (Thora), Sara Pino (Cory), Liz Pino, and Katrina Pino, her granddaughter whom she raised. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Eric (Jasmine), Troy (Stephanie), Elizabeth (Jacob), Jillian, Caleb, and Chloe (Brenden); and six great-grandchildren, Ezekiel, Kayden, Johnathan, Gianna, Joseph and Nathanael; her brothers, Jim Bittinger and Mark Bittinger (Christine); her Aunt Pat as well as many other aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and her multitude of friends; all whom she loved and cherished deeply.
Waiting to greet her when she arrives are her father, Milton Bittinger, Mother Darleen (Knaus) Bittinger, sister-in-law, Stacy Bittinger; brother-in-law, Lawrence Pino; mother-in-law, Eva Moore; and a very special niece, Vanessa Villalpando.
A rosary will be held at Schrader, Aragon, and Jacoby Funeral Home on July 5, 2023, at 6:00 pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral on July 6, 2023, at 11:00 am. followed by a reception at Schrader, Aragon, and Jacoby Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Cheyenne Animal Shelter, Cancer Research or your charity of choice.