Mary “Koni” Markey Abrego peacefully drifted away from this world on Monday November 19th, 2018 at the age of 74. Her story began in Spirit River Canada, on September 7th, 1944 where at the age of 11 months she was adopted by U.S. Army Brigadier General Lawrence Bernard Markey and his wife Mary (Shea) Markey, since deceased. Her father always said that it took just one look into Koni’s sparkling blue eyes to fall instantly in love with her. For those that knew her, it was an easy thing to do for many, many other reasons as well.
An Army “brat”, as she referred to herself, Koni moved around the world with her military family that included her big brother James Markey (formerly of Honolulu, HI, since deceased) and kid sister, Joan Markey, who resides in New York City. From Japan to Germany, Hawaii to San Francisco, Washington D.C. to Indianapolis, Koni developed a lifelong love of travelling.
Koni’s sense of adventure, her dry wit, passionate love of music, carefree nature and loving, somewhat rebellious spirit was reflected in the cultural changes happening in the late 1960’s. In the summer of 1969, on a whim, she drove a bus full of friends from Indianapolis to Woodstock, New York. The details of that weekend’s events always remained hazy.
In the summer of 1970, while enjoying a few of her choice rum and cokes at a long-since burned down Cape Cod nightclub, she met a newly discharged Naval Vietnam Veteran from Galveston, Texas, Eusebio (Jim) Abrego, who despite his horrific “What’s your sign?” pick up line, became the love of her life. The two were married on June 12, 1971 and settled together in Taunton, Massachusetts where they would live happily for the rest of her life. On September 8, 1971, the other love of her life, her son, Paul J. Abrego was born as she often described as, “a late birthday present”.
In the following years, Koni devoted herself to volunteerism and helping others in a myriad of ways. She especially loved being involved in the Taunton Eastern Little League and became the league’s first female President. Along the way she worked tirelessly to raise funding to build the now thriving Taunton Eastern Little League complex; she created the T-Ball and developmental leagues for younger children and she encouraged and supported many other women to become managers, coaches and to serve as she did on the Board of Directors to help guide and administrate the League. Besides the T.E.L.L., Koni was also a member of the Junior Women’s Club of Taunton, serving as President in the early 1980’s; as a cub-scout den mother; served on the PTO at Elizabeth Pole Elementary and Martin Middle Schools and successfully advocated for school buses for children in lower grades. She also privately served as a volunteer at Morton Hospital, Marion Manor Rest Home, and Taunton Nursing Home often spending days and evenings with elderly patients who for one reason or another had no one to else to look after them. In the early-1980’s, at a time when little was known of the AIDS disease, Koni befriended a neighbor who was an early patient and helped him deal with his impending demise while others out of fear or prejudice had turned their backs on him. For all of these things and more, Koni Abrego should always be remembered above all for her selflessness and devotion to her community.
In the mid 1990’s, encouraged by her family and helped by her husband’s detective skills, Koni found her birth mother, Alice Law (since deceased) in Canada and discovered that she had four half-sisters as well. Koni and Jim travelled to Canada multiple times and some of her sisters visited Taunton as well; the two families shared a beautiful relationship since discovering one another. As one of her found sisters described, “Koni made our family whole”.
Jim and Koni continued travelling together as often as possible their entire lives. From Mexico to Hawaii, to numerous cross country trips to Texas and California; to Koni’s high school reunion in Heidelberg Germany as well. As Jim said to her as she was drifting away, “We travelled the world, Koni, and we had no regrets”.
Koni met the last true love of her life on July 17th 2002, when her beloved granddaughter, Anais Abrego, entered the world. Noni, as she was known to Anais, lovingly helped as a caregiver to Anais from infancy and the two shared many adventures together. They were often seen around the little league fields working side by side in the concession stand that brought joy to both of them. The two travelled to Florida for a “girls trip” when Anais was young. Along with Jim and sometimes Paul or the family dog, they went on long road trips to Texas and nearly cross-country, visiting many National Parks along the way including Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, Wyoming’s Grand Teton and Yellowstone and Montana’s Little Big Horn. The family travelled to London and Cambridge, UK to attend Koni’s beloved niece, Elizabeth O’Connor-Ward’s wedding and found time to fit in a whirlwind day trip to Paris, France along the way. She loved her granddaughter immensely and all of those trips and memories with Anais and time spent with her would continue to be constant highlights of Noni/Koni’s life.
Koni is survived by her loving husband Eusebio “Jim” Abrego of Taunton, MA, her devoted son Paul Abrego and his wife, Melissa (Demaral) Abrego of Raynham, MA, and her beloved granddaughter Anais Abrego of Melrose, MA. She is also survived by her sister Joan Markey of New York City; sisters Eileen Didlow, ElDonna Klatt, and Mariette Carman of Canada and her sister Lorraine Lawton of Perth, Australia and their families; and her beloved nieces, Elizabeth Ward-O’Connor of Washington, D.C., Karen Markey Crawford and Kelli Markey of Virginia and Krislynne Markey-Shultze of Wyoming.
Koni’s life will be celebrated on December 1st, 2018 with viewing hours from 2-5 pm with a short memorial service to follow at Silva Funeral Home, 80 Broadway Street, Taunton MA, 02780. Funeral Services will be privately held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to Taunton Eastern Little League, 629 Middleboro Avenue, East Taunton, MA 02718.
Taunton Eastern Little League
629 Middleboro Avenue, East Taunton MA 02718